Victorian forestry communities mourn the loss of a once vibrant industry

Media Release

1 January 2024

Victorian forestry communities mourn the loss of a once vibrant industry

Timber Towns Victoria today acknowledges a deep sadness and regret for the native timber harvesting communities and their families for the loss of regenerative native mixed species forest harvesting from actively managed forests in Victoria.

In Australia, forested landscapes are likely to have been actively and adaptively managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for over 60,000 years.

In November 2019, the Victorian State Government announced a phase out of the native timber harvesting industry in Victoria by 2030. In May 2023, a new announcement brought the ban forward to commence 1 January 2024.

Timber Towns Victoria President and Mayor of the Glenelg Shire, Cr Karen Stephens said “Unfortunately, the industry has long been misunderstood by the State Government and the broader community and has ultimately been brought to its knees. The industry has repeatedly called on the State Government to provide scientific evidence as to the reasoning for their decision and we are yet to see this from them.

“The loss of active forest management practices will ultimately mean the loss of generational knowledge, loss of carbon capture in regrowth forest areas after harvesting, and the loss of the flow on benefits to communities and the environment” Cr Stephens said.

Victorias forest industries are recognised as significant contributors to the economy and community. An economic impact report commissioned by the Wellington and East Gippsland Shires in 2021 estimated that the ban on native timber harvesting would result in approximately 1,110 job losses and output to drop by $308 million.

Forestry Australia (the professional body of forest scientists, farm foresters and forestry professionals) advocates to support well managed sustainable forest harvesting as a part of ecologically sustainable forest management practices. These sustainably regenerative managed forests operate under the strict Australian Standards and stringent auditing. Under ecologically sustainable forest management, active management practices are required to maintain resilient and healthy forests that can withstand the impacts of threats including bushfires, invasive species and climate change.

Forestry Australia recommends continued silvicultural techniques in our native forests can be utilised to support forest health and biodiversity, mitigate risks from fire, pests and diseases and to grow bigger trees quicker, storing more carbon and creating forests that are more resilient.

“In contrast to the ban on native timber harvesting, there are a multitude of benefits from the sustainable management of our forests and as the peak local government body for Victoria on forest policy, we wish to discuss these with the State Government and work towards a positive solution for Victoria and our communities.

“We call on the government to advise Timber Towns Victoria and the community, what strategies do you have in place for the future sustainable management of forest health, bushfire risks, conservation of biodiversity, and maximising carbon outcomes.” Cr Stephens said.

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Media contact:

Cr Karen Stephens

Timber Towns Victoria President

0488 900 6545

About Timber Towns Victoria

Timber Towns Victoria is the peak local government body for Victoria on forestry policy. It represents 12 Victorian Local Government areas with forestry industries on public or private land. In representing these local councils and the communities that work within the forestry and timber industries, TTV is committed to maintaining sustainable practices to ensure the industry continues into the future.

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For more information, contact Timber Towns Victoria President, Glenelg Shire Councillor Cr Karen Stephens, 0488 900 645 or email

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