QuestionsOnNotice

Questions on Notice No 6699
Answered
Assembly
59 Parliament First Session
Question
Asked: 22 June 2022

Question on Notice

Mr Bull (Gippsland East) to ask the Minister for Health for the Minister for Agriculture — The Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 is before the Assembly to provide greater protections for timber workers in harvesting areas. However, legal action on harvesting coupes is significantly impacting timber workers’ viability, and supply at Victorian mills, which is causing high levels of concern in relation to ongoing operations. Fenning Timbers Bairnsdale, which employs 50 staff, is one of those and is presently facing a significant shortfall of winter sawlog stock with only weeks of supply remaining. It has explored all other avenues of sourcing timber from other locations with no success.

What is the Minister doing from a legislative perspective to halt this litigation from environmental groups that is impacting on the ability for VicForests to meet their timber supply commitments and therefore jeopardising the short-term future of timber workers and mill operators.

Footnote: Question redirected due to ministerial portfolio changes
Answer
Answered: 9 September 2022
QoN - LA - Response_0_0.docx

 

Thank you for your question to the previous Minster for Agriculture, as I’m now the responsible Agriculture Minster I will be responding to your question.

 

Timber supply to 2024 for sawmills is a key component of the Victorian Forestry Plan. The government is committed to ensuring supply to 2024 to provide time for businesses, workers and communities to prepare for the transition away from native timber harvesting by 2030.

 

To secure native timber supply, the Victorian Government has made further changes to the Code of Practice for Timber Production 2014, along with the Management Standards and Procedures for timber harvesting operations in Victoria’s State forests 2021, to clarify the regulatory environment for timber harvesting. These changes come into effect from 6 June and 1 July 2022.

 

Additionally, contractors experiencing difficulties with stand-downs due to litigation are encouraged to discuss with VicForests about temporary support for their business and workforce.

 

 

 

The Hon. Gayle Tierney MP

Deputy Leader of the government in the Legislative Council

Minister for Agriculture 

Minister for Training and Skills

Minister for Higher Education

31 August 2022

 

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