See the Wood for the Trees

15 September, 2023

Hello. Russell Broadbent here – your Member for Monash.

It’s no secret that the Andrews’ government’s decision to scrap Victoria’s Native Timber Industry on the 1st of January 2024 is a kick in the guts for regional communities.

An industry worth over $1.4 billion dollars will simply cease to exist.

And it’s not just the timber towns that will be hit hard – it’s the housing industry, the job sector, and most importantly, the people.

That’s one reason we shouldn’t be going through with this decision.

But let’s look at this from a different lens.

What if by closing the native timber industry, we are robbing ourselves of an opportunity to reach those impossible net zero targets?

In a recent article in the The Australian Financial Review, Joel Fitzgibbon expands on the opportunity that native forest harvesting poses for carbon capture.

He explains that ‘when a tree is harvested, the carbon in the wood is stored forever in the built environment. The harvested tree is replaced by a young tree, which absorbs more carbon as it grows.’

He even quotes former chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb, who states ‘the only pathway known to science that has the immediate capacity to remove greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, from the atmosphere at scale is photosynthesis.’

Sounds logical to me.

I’ve said it before – we need to be having open discussions about where this nation is heading.

We should be exploring any avenue that supports the livelihood of our people and protects our environment.

And we shouldn’t have to choose between the two.

That’s justice as I see it.

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