The wood and fibre industry has welcomed the Victorian government’s introduction of a Bill to parliament today that will better protect native forestry workers from protesters, Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) CEO Deb Kerr said today.
The Sustainable Forests Timber Amendment (Timber Harvesting Safety Zones) Bill 2022 increases penalties for protesters, adds PVC and metal pipes to the prohibited items list and gives authorised officers additional powers to search containers, bags, and vehicles for prohibited items.
“Every person has the right to be safe at work. Protesters have ignored this right far and wide, with a detrimental effect on the physical and mental health of workers. The Bill is an important step towards ensuring the safety of forestry workers – but also importantly, the safety of protesters”, Ms Kerr said.
“What we’re hoping is that environmental activists will think twice before entering a harvest zone. Everyone has the right to protest – but not at the cost of the safety and well-being of others”, Ms Kerr concluded.
Read the government’s media release here.