House debates

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

Statements by Members

Victoria: Forestry Industry

1:57 pm

Photo of Darren ChesterDarren Chester (Gippsland, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In my 15 years as a member of parliament I have never been more disgusted in a government decision than I am today. The Andrews Labor government has kicked every hardworking native timber industry family in the guts today and not one of those opposite, not one member opposite, has raised a single word of protest in relation to this issue.

People and wildlife die in poorly managed forests, and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has a plan to shut down the native timber industry in 2024. It's a plan to kill country towns. It's a plan to kill wildlife. It's a plan to kill Australian jobs. This is a 'Dan-made' disaster which will devastate Gippsland communities and take us a generation to recover from. Old Labor MPs were never this gutless, and there's no point in those opposite trying to find their voices now. Where were any of you when the workers needed your help?

My communities are resilient and have stood united as they've faced fires and floods and droughts, but nothing can save a town from the madness of Dan Andrews. He didn't tell the unions. He didn't tell the mill owners. He didn't even tell the workers. He sent them a press release! I repeat: this is a 'Dan-made' disaster for regional Victoria, and gutless Victorian Labor MPs should have stood up for the blue-collar workers and protected their jobs from those inner-city Green policies. I'll give you a clue: if the Greens are cheering, you've made the wrong decision!