Premier Allan rejects community concerns
EXECUTIVE OFFICER MEDIA RELEASE
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When we all think about the Victorian Labor State Government and their approach to our communities, families and sustainable industries – words like disjointed, disorganized, uncaring and robotic often come to mind.
But when the Premier Jacinta Allan refuses even to meet with Forest and Wood Communities Australia OR offer any response to the concerns of our members – it is a heartbreaking but unsurprising rejection by the out-of-touch Premier and the factions that keep her in power.
After the Executive Officer of Forest and Wood communities Australia Mick Harrington contacted the office of Premier Allan on November the thirteenth to “together find an evidence-based collective path forward that allows us greater time to transition AND that balances ecological and cultural outcomes with the continued success of our communities” there has been silence. Deafening silence.
Despite requesting discussions by December the first, aside from an automatically generated response email – Forest and Wood Communities Australia have – to date – received no correspondence from the Premier or her office.
For a Premier that purports to represent a regional electorate (Bendigo East) and who is married to Yorick Piper – a former high ranking Victorian official in the CFMEU Forestry and Manufacturing division – there is absolutely no excuse for her ignorance on this issue – feigned or not.
The already low weekly median household incomes for many towns synonymous with native timber harvesting including Orbost ($785 p/w), Heyfield ($1007 p/w), Noojee ($1053p/w), Corryong ($988 p/w) and Powelltown ($1125 p/w) all fall well below the state average and are poised for potential collapse due to inadequate compensation and transition arrangements, and that coupled with markedly worse health and education outcomes mean these communities can ill-afford any further negative impact on their way of life. The decision of the government to close one of the sectors that gave these at risk rural and remote communities opportunities for gainful employment and higher levels of education/training – is now precipitating potentially disastrous outcomes for these communities including the potential creation of a swathe of new welfare towns – all without even the simple courtesy to respond to the genuine concerns of impacted communities.
Put simply – timber communities deserve so much better – better policy, better land management, better engagement from the Labor State Government and certainly a better future for our families, our children and our communities.
They also deserve a Premier that will respond to their justified concerns – even when those concerns don’t mirror the ideological leanings of the inner-city anti-industrialists that she allies herself with.