Fears timber industry 'will collapse' without govt action
WIDE Bay MP Llew O'Brien has accused the State Government of "dragging its feet on forestry agreements", saying it was killing the industry.
But Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner hit back, saying the LNP Opposition did not even have a policy regarding the issue.
This week Mr O'Brien and Queensland Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett met with Hyne Timber executive director James Hyne to see the workings of the mill, which employs more than 350 staff and contractors around Maryborough.
Mr O'Brien said the Coalition Government had committed almost $2 million into boosting Wide Bay's timber industry since 2016, but delays by the Labor State Government were putting that investment and jobs at risk.
"Hyne is one of Maryborough's biggest employers, and the Coalition Government recognises the value that the timber industry brings to Wide Bay and to Queensland," Mr O'Brien said.
"Sustainable, world-class timber is produced right here in Wide Bay, and we're committed to ensuring this valuable timber industry remains viable, thrives and creates more jobs into the future."
Queensland Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett said access to timber resources on State-owned land would be limited from 2024, and that deadline was fast approaching with no solution in sight.
"This is causing a lot of uncertainty and great concern in the timber industry throughout Queensland," he said.
"I'm hearing from people who want to make significant investments in the timber industry, but why would they invest millions of dollars into an industry when there may be no resources for them in five years' time?
"The industry will collapse unless the Labor State Government gets into gear and makes a decision on new forestry agreements."
Mr Furner said the State Government had invested directly into the Wide Bay timber industry to allow greater innovation and investment.
"Our government sees the global potential of Hyne Timber, which is why we're supporting the development of their new $20 million facility through our $150 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund," he said.
"Maryborough and district residents will reap the benefits of this plant, with up to 80 construction jobs expected to be created, and 42 long-term jobs sustained once operational.
"The government is developing a timber supply policy and will consult with industry as part of this process.
"I note the LNP Opposition does not yet have a policy in this area."