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Bunnings hypocrisy on Victorian timber
The decision by hardware retailer Bunnings to refuse to stock Victorian timber sourced from VicForests is a hypocritical knee-jerk reaction, said Forest & Wood Communities Australia Managing Director, Justin Law.
Last month, Bunnings bowed to activist pressure by refusing stock timber from native hardwood harvested in Victoria following the Federal Court’s findings in a case brought against VicForests by activist donation collection group, Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum.
Federal Court Judge Debra Mortimer, who was formerly a barrister who had represented environmental groups in similar cases, ruled that VicForests had not complied with Federal environmental laws. However, VicForests is fighting the decision and FWCA believes they will be successful.
“We believe the ruling is flawed and will be overturned, but that has not stopped Bunnings from making a decision which threatens the livelihoods of hundreds of regional Victorians before looking at all the facts an implications,” Mr Law said.
“This company, which apparently wants to promote itself as being ethically superior, stocks timber from South East Asian rainforests which are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.
“Instead of cosying up to environmental activists in Australia, Bunnings should take a good hard look at achieving environmental outcomes in countries where there are genuine concerns.”
Mr Law added that the ongoing campaign against native timber harvesting in Australia was disingenuous.
“Corporate environmental groups meet their financial targets by using a conflict-based business model which scares the public into giving them money,” Mr Law said. “They invest heavily in teams of communications specialists, lawyers and academics to create and promote issues to attack the industry and this short-sighted decision by Bunnings is just one example of the damage it causes.
“Native timber harvesting in Australia is sustainable and ethically managed, reduces fuel for fires and helps to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. It also provides many essential products such as surgical masks which are assisting in combating the current COVID-19 crisis.
“It employs thousands of regional Australians and supports the communities in which they live”.
“These are people who contribute to society and in recent times they have suffered through drought, fire and these relentless attacks based on lies and exaggeration”.
“Bunnings has just kicked them while they are down.”