Thursday, 28 November 2019
Statements by Members
I was here when John Howard, Prime Minister, and Michael O'Connor, from the CFMEU Forestry Division, were sorting out the regional forest agreements for Victoria. Only the member for Lingiari and perhaps Malcolm Mackerras sitting up there would remember the political pain and blood and sweat we went through to get those forest agreements through. They cost $100 million. The unions were at the table, and we had every stakeholder. We designed a system. We used 0.04 per cent of available native forests. We created 74,700 jobs directly and 70,000 jobs indirectly, and it gave a $300 million direct injection to the economy.
This Victorian state government under Daniel Andrews, with his terrible agreement with the Greens, has just gone whoosho—goodbye all your jobs. They don't care about regional Victoria. They never have cared. They're a self-centred city-centred Labor government. They have no care for these workers or for the 25 hardwood mills. We paid the price in the past. We paid for those things to be done. There is absolutely no reason to close down this industry, and the only thing we can do is hope and pray that Michael O'Connor stands up again and says no.