Today Labor met with representatives from the forestry industry to hear about what is needed to ensure the long term sustainability of the sector.
The most striking take away message from the roundtable discussions was that the forestry industry is looking for real action and a whole of government approach.
Labor is committed to working with the forestry sector businesses, unions and all stakeholders to deliver real outcomes right across the supply chain.
The sector needs a comprehensive strategic plan and a Shorten Labor Government will deliver one.
Labor’s aspirations for the sector stand in stark contrast to the current Coalition Government which as its first act air-brushed forestry from the portfolio title. It also excluded it from its White paper process and now - five years on and in its second term of Government - is promising a forestry plan which appears to be on the never never.
Shadow Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said that “the forestry sector has been the victim of total policy inertia from the Abbott and Turnbull Governments with no real action to address the critical issue of declining plantation timber or any strategy to pursue value-adding opportunities”.
Senator Anne Urquhart said that “Labor will prioritise the forestry sector because it understands the significance it plays in providing rural and regional jobs particularly in Tasmania”.
Labor’s candidate for Braddon Justine Keay said that “Tasmania’s forestry industry needs a dedicated Forestry Minister who is fully engaged, it is unacceptable that at Senate Estimates it was revealed that there is currently no forestry industry advisory committee and that the former committee had last met in June 2017”.
It is clear from the evidence to date that the Abbott and Turnbull Governments pay lip service only to the forestry sector that the release date of forestry plan sometime in the second half of 2018 is designed to once again be a political document to push out any real action until after the next election.
Shadow Minister Joel Fitzgibbon urged Tasmanians to send a strong message to the Turnbull Government that actions speak louder than words by ensuring Justine Keay is returned to Canberra to continue her hard work of holding the Turnbull Government to account.