Forestry workers would form emergency response team under Greens plan


Forestry workers would be redeployed to an emergency and disaster response team under a Greens plan to end native forest logging in Victoria in 2023.

As Victoria faces dual climate and biodiversity crises, the Victorian Labor Government continues to decimate native forests with logging while making it illegal for people to protest or try to protect vital forest habitat. 

Each year, millions in taxpayer money is spent on logging our irreplaceable native forests, while the state-run logging company VicForests is plagued by scandals and corruption. 

That’s why today the Greens have unveiled their bold election policy to end native forest logging in Victoria.

Their plan would see native forest logging phased out in Victoria by 2023 and logging workers and contractors can either take a transition package, or be redeployed into a special emergency and disaster response team, using their existing skills in earthmoving, heavy machinery and firefighting.

Over recent years, we’ve seen SES volunteers face a huge increase in demand for emergency services, and unfortunately we can anticipate that climate change will make disasters more frequent and severe.

Logging workers and contractors are already skilled with heavy machinery and working in remote areas, and often already undertake significant fire-prevention activities such as making fire-breaks. This makes them ideal to form a professional emergency response team that can be deployed when and where they are most needed. 

By bringing forward Labor’s transition plan to move forestry workers into new jobs by 2023, and redeploying them to be part of an emergency response team, we can end native forest logging sooner and be prepared for impending environmental disasters. 

The Greens’ plan to end native forest logging would also:

  • Reverse Labor’s laws that criminalise peaceful forest protesters and also repeal the laws that lock Victoria into supplying forests to private companies until 2030.
  • Process plantation timber in Victoria and set up Victoria as a national leader in alternative timber products.
  • Showcase alternative forest-based economic opportunities such as an elevated forest walk tourism venture in Victoria’s central highlands.

The Parliamentary Budget Office calculates that ending native forest logging in 2023 will save Victoria $205 million dollars over the next decade.

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said the Greens’ plan would save the state money while protecting our precious forests and wildlife.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP: 

"Ending native forest logging now, rather than in ten years, will help the environment and save Victoria $205 million.

“By redeploying forestry workers to form a special emergency and disaster response team, we can use their existing skills in something we desperately need in Victoria.

“Climate change means Victoria is facing an increase in disasters like fires, storms and floods, so we will need a larger emergency response team that can be deployed when and where they are most needed."