The Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) has analysed the responses of the major parties to its election asks. The analysis reveals that the Liberals and Nationals Coalition policies show the most overall support for forestry.
VFPA CEO Deb Kerr said it was extremely disappointing that neither the Victorian Labor Party nor the Victorian Greens thought the industry was important enough to respond formally to VFPA’s election platform. Consequently, these parties have been assessed on publicly available information on their policies.
“VFPA has scored the Coalition ahead of Labor because of the leadership and prominence the Coalition has given forestry. While plantation forestry has seen strong support from Labor with the recently announced $120M Gippsland Plantation Investment Program, an incoming Labor government would still be committed to phasing out native forestry by 2030. This is a position VFPA rejects due to the benefits of active forest management for bushfire risk mitigation and improved ecological outcomes, and the UN’s IPCC pointing towards the climate benefits of sustainably managed forests, including for timber production,” Deb Kerr said.
“The position of Labor and the Greens is also completely out of step with Victorian consumers, who have clearly shown support for both plantation and native forestry in polls conducted in Melton and Keysborough recently.
“If elected, the Coalition has pledged to overturn Labor’s decision to phase out native forestry, and to continue supporting a sustainable, renewable industry that produces essential goods for Victorians,” continued Deb Kerr.
“Unlike in Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and Federally, Victorian forestry is still not seeing bipartisan support. Our forest industries need policy and resource certainty – which, in turn, means cost certainty for consumers.
Just as important are the commitments from all sides to progress the growth of our timber plantation estate. This will ensure that we meet Victoria’s future timber and wood fibre needs,” Deb Kerr concluded.