The announcement yesterday that Carter Holt Harvey will close its Morwell operations and the loss of 160 jobs makes saving all of the 250 jobs at Heyfield mill an absolute necessity and the highest priority for this government, according to Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull.
“The area cannot take another hit, especially when it is avoidable, so saving all these Heyfield jobs must become Daniel Andrews' number one job,” he said.
“While this latest closure was caused by bushfire impacts, the loss of up to 1000 jobs at Hazelwood came after the Andrews Government imposed a $252 million tax on power generators and reneged on a promise for a staged closure.
“The Government is not providing any real long-term replacement jobs, the unemployment rate is soaring and we need to stop the bleeding.
“I understand the Government's original offer of 80,000 cubic metres of timber to Heyfield next year, followed by 60,000 the following two years, has now been upgraded to 80,000 over each of the next three years, but that will still result in more than half the jobs at the mill going.
“I am also told they are trying to negotiate a sale, but to save all these jobs – and I stress all – the mill does not need a new owner, it needs resource and we need more than 80,000 cubes."
Mr Bull said he believes the Government is in possession of modelling that shows how much timber can be returned to the industry if leadbeater possum colonies are capped at 200 (the original trigger point for a review) and the balance returned back to industry.
“This information needs to be released immediately, so we know what we are dealing with. It will prove (as many suspect) whether the decision not to allocate the resource is a political decision pandering to inner-city lefties, or not," he said.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017