Budget an opportunity to support timber towns

Although the end of the native forestry industry was announced in September, timber towns and communities are still in the dark about what their future holds.
Shadow Minister for Forestry, Steve Martin MLC said, “it has now been over 8 months since the announcement of the end of the native forestry industry.
“Although the government eventually announced a support package for businesses and workers, local communities affected by Labor’s decision to end the native forestry industry are still yet to find out what support they will receive.
“The government must turn their focus on increasing the funding available to deliver a community support package to timber towns in the South-West.
“With the announcement of today’s State Budget, the government needs to drastically increase the funding available to support everyone who has been affected by their short-sighted and spontaneous decision to close the hardwood harvesting industry,” said Mr Martin.
The original package announced in September 2021 provided only $50 million to support the ‘Just Transition Plan’. However, after the announcement of worker and business support packages, union payments and Department salaries, Mr Martin worries that there won’t be much left to support the communities affected by this decision.
“$50 million does not got far when we are talking about shutting down an entire industry. It will involve paying worker redundancies, compensation for investments, winding down operations and site clean ups.
“I hope that the government can recognise the need for more funding – $50 million is nowhere near enough.
“If the government can afford to pay the Australian Workers Union $200,000 for ‘advice and support’, they can find the money to compensate the thousands of people living in timber communities,” said Mr Martin.
“Minister Kelly says that he has listened closely to the concerns of the community, but they still haven’t been told about what support they will receive,” said Mr Martin.