PROTEST: MP set to attend timber workers' rally against govt
MARYBOROUGH MP Bruce Saunders is set to attend a timber industry rally where workers will be protesting his own government, exclusively telling the Chronicle "I'm not running from anyone".
Mr Saunders said he intended to explain the State Government's commitment to the future of the industry at the rally.
"I'm working closely with Timber Queensland and I'm working hard for the timber industry," he said.
He had also been in touch with relevant ministers in his own government to discuss the future of an industry that is a key employment provider in his electorate, Mr Saunders said.
DTM Timber workers will join the Granville rally on August 18, targeting what organiser Sam Slack from Slacks Hardwood called "very regressive" proposed State Government reforms to the Code of Practice for Native Forest Management.
A statement from the Private Forestry Service Queensland said the loss of a further 60,000m³ from private native forests on top of the 40,000m³ from state forests would result in the closure of at least 20 of the 40 existing mills in southern Queensland.
With both Federal member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien and Gympie MP Tony Perrett voicing concerns about the future of the industry in recent weeks, particularly in relation to finalising forestry agreements, Mr Saunders accused Mr Perrett of scaremongering.
"We're not talking about politics, we're talking about people's livelihoods," he said.
"The industry is renewable and I'm very passionate about it.
"I've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get a deal in place. "Everything Tony Perrett does is scaremongering, I've never heard a positive thing come out of his mouth.
"We're on the cusp of big things in the timber industry.
"I'll be talking to timber workers and telling them how much I love and support the industry.
"I want this industry to grow."
But Mr Perrett, the Shadow Forestry Minister, said unlike Mr Saunders, the LNP was listening to forestry workers.
"Industry groups like Timber Queensland and local sawmillers have been actively raising this issue with the LNP," he said. "The forestry industry knows Labor's Beattie-era state forest lockout, which comes into effect in 2024, will be devastating and I'm right behind their campaign to save jobs.
"For Bruce Saunders to represent a timber seat like Maryborough and to claim everything is fine is delusional.
"He should stop whining and demand action from Annastacia Palaszczuk.
"Maryborough's forestry workers deserve an MP who fill fight for them, not an anti-jobs Labor lapdog like Bruce Saunders."