“Putting on a band aid will do nothing to provide certainty or security for timber workers and industry.
“The announcement of a two-year extension of the closure is an admission that the Government really has no plan to support hundreds of timber industry jobs.
“It is a political fix job ahead of next year’s state election, not an economic fix for our local workers.
“The closure of access to timber resources on State-owned land from 2024 is a political problem which the Government wants to go away.
“The two-year extension until 2026, falls well short of the security the industry requires.
“No one can work on that type of time frame, not even the Government.
“Government claims that its new plan will refresh the South East Queensland Regional Forests Agreement for a new generation are ridiculous.
“The announcement is a direct reaction to the timber rally in August when workers, industry and their families protested against the Government reforms.
“This delay is nothing more than a cynical political fix and the slow death of hundreds of jobs and a great local industry.
“The Minister has been warned time and time again of a looming hardwood industry crisis from a lack of certainty over future resource supply.
“This won’t stem the uncertainty and won’t provide long term security.
“The announcement is also an admission of failure of Labor’s timber policies since a Labor Green alliance held a gun to the head of the industry in 1999.
“Former Labor Premier Peter Beattie forged a deal promising that farm forestry would take up the slack.
“Those previous assurances to transition the industry and save local jobs had completely failed.
“The Premier’s announcement that environmental groups had no reason to be concerned shows the green Labor alliance is still dictating the agenda.
“That is code for the fix is in.
“The State Labor Government’s entrenched commitment to the green agenda means that it is addicted to undermining our timber industry,
“Forestry and the timber industry have been an integral part of the Gympie region’s economic and employment base for more than 100 years when the forests were planted.
“There are 803 or 4.6% of Gympie’s total employment in the sector and the latest State Government statistical data says that the Araucaria, hardwood and southern pine plantations have a direct value of $697 million.
“The financially incompetent Beattie and Bligh Labor Governments sold our plantations in an asset fire sale in 2010.
“It sold them for $600 million which was estimated to be less than half their value ($1.3 billion) to the North American company Hancock Timber Resources Group with 99-year contractual obligations.
“Queensland’s timber industry supports almost 9000 jobs and they need a government that supports these workers.
“The LNP looks forward to working with industry to protect local jobs and support the use of iconic Queensland timbers.”
“We will work with the timber industry to provide long term economic security, not a two year stay of execution.