Opinion

Native timber decision will destroy lives

By Rodney Woods

With one stroke of his magic pen, the Premier for Melbourne, Daniel Andrews, has decimated the timber industry.

With very little thought he has destroyed the lives of thousands of rural timber workers, all for the sake of some inner city green votes.

If he thinks $120 million is going to be enough money to compensate these workers and mill owners, then he has seriously misjudged the value of timber mills and equipment owned by contractors.

Our company has only been working in the timber industry for about 30 years, but others are generations of timber workers and this is all they know.

What are they all to do — sit behind computer desks, go on the dole or maybe relocate and get a job on the mines (sorry that option will be out too as we can’t have mining).

Mr Andrews says that we can transition to plantation timber.

Can he tell me where the closest red gum plantation of any size is?

I think the answer will be that there are none. Even if we plant red gum now it would take 60 to 80 years to grow to a size useful for bridge timber, house stumps, furniture, flooring and decking.

At the moment the red gum is selectively harvested in a multi-age forest which allows for a 25 year rotation.

Not only is red gum used for building products it is a major source of heating for many people, especially rural people.

Large volumes of firewood are sent to Melbourne each winter to heat peoples’ homes.

Also wood-fired pizza ovens are becoming very popular and red gum is their wood of choice.

So, how are all these people going to heat their homes?

Jeanette Coulter

On behalf of Kerang business J & G Coulter Pty Ltd