Calls Vic timber industry overhaul

Victorian sawmillers are calling for an overhaul of the state's timber industry, removing a reliance on native forests in favour of state-owned plantations. Five companies from the state's east and north east have written an open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews, pushing for changes they say are necessary for the AU$7.3 billion industry's future.

These include a transition to plantation-supplied timber by 2040 and the abolition of clear-fell logging of native forests coups larger than 20 hectares. Government investment to make mills more efficient, the legislation of timber supply arrangements, improved standards, assistance for worker re-skilling and relocation, and exit packages for businesses and contractors are also part of the proposal.

"We need surety from the government that funds will be available to the industry so that we can invest in new equipment to accommodate for both native and plantation supplies," a spokesperson for the group said in a statement last week.

The letter from Fenning Timbers, Ryan and McNulty, Dindi Sawmill, A.G. Brown Sawmill and Kelly's Timber Pty Ltd of Wesburn comes after more than 2,000 people signed a petition over concerns of dwindling supplies and insufficient government protection. A government spokesman said they support a strong, viable and sustainable forestry industry and will consider the proposal.


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