Senator lashes out at State Govt over timber industry

A QUEENSLAND Senator has lashed out at the State Government, saying uncertainty is plaguing the timber industry.

The LNP's Susan McDonald yesterday called for an expansion of the private forestry sector to boost supply and protect regional jobs.

Her comments came after hundreds of people gathered at Granville for a rally in support of the hardwood timber industry on Sunday.

More than 2000 jobs depend on the industry in south-east Queensland.

"The State Labor Government wants to cease the logging of native state-owned timber in 2024 but Timber Queensland believes there aren't enough private and plantation forests to maintain current production levels and that jobs could be lost," she said.

Ms McDonald said the reforms were "yet another attack on jobs in regional Queensland".

"After doing nothing to encourage private investment and expansion in the timber industry, Labor has thousands of people wondering if they'll have a job in a few years," she said.

"This is the same government that is cracking down unfairly on cane farmers with new regulations that will stifle regional economies and cost jobs.

"It has also targeted our commercial fishing sector with ridiculous new restrictions that will also cost jobs in regional areas."

Ms McDonald said Labor's reliance on Greens preferences was " bad news for anyone who lives outside Brisbane or who wants to escape city congestion and pursue a career in the regions".

She backed industry requests for a 10-year extension of logging state-owned native hardwoods and for more incentives to be made available to develop private forests.

"Furthermore, I would call for a lifting of restrictions on salvaging fallen timber from national parks as a way to increase and guarantee supply," she said.

"The Queensland timber industry has long been recognised as managing timber resources to the highest and most sustainable standards.

"The industry is among the most sustainable but the Queensland Labor Government is again demonstrating that it listens to poorly informed armchair environmentalists over practical and outcomes-driven experts."

Dr Anthony Lynham, Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, said the Senator had taken a "broad brush across a number of issues without letting the facts stand in the way".

"As I have repeatedly stressed, a draft has not even been completed in regard to the review of the code, so to draw conclusions at this stage is premature," she said.

"She has presented a smorgasbord of assumptions on this issue in an attempt to be relevant.

"There will be consultation with industry on a draft paper later this year, just as we consulted with stakeholders before bringing in new Vegetation Management laws.

"The goals of the code review is to ensure a balance between the timber industry and the environment.

"While it is entirely natural that the timber industry is passionate about the future, let's not put the cart before the horse."

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