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‘It’s my whole life’: Logger reacts to Victorian native forest logging ban

Premier Daniel Andrews today announced a statewide ban on the logging of native trees.

Logging of old growth forest has been banned immediately, while all native tree logging will be cut back from 2024-25 and stopped entirely by 2030.

Industry sources say the ban could cost taxpayers as much as $500 million, due to the need for compensation and the loss of jobs.

Brad Meyer from Meyer Log Cartage, a business which logs native timber, said he’s gutted by the news.

“It’s my whole life. I left school and from school it was a chainsaw and working in the bush, so where to from here, I’m not sure,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“My whole business revolves around native forest timber harvesting, so without that I don’t have a business at all.”

Mr Meyer said he wasn’t consulted at all prior to today’s announcement, and only found out about it this morning.

“It seems like the decisions get made without people who are actually in the industry having any say, and that’s the frustrating part about it,” he said.

“We don’t seem to have any say whatsoever, it seems to be coming from Melbourne. If they follow through with this it’s poor management, very poor management.”

Mr Meyer said he’s done everything he can to ensure his business is environmentally sustainable.

“At the moment we’re harvesting world’s best practice. We can’t do it any better than what we are,” he said.

“Possums, rare trees, animals that need protection, we have buffers on all those areas. We’re leaving lots of habitat trees for the animals to live, and we’ve proven that they do live after we’ve harvested.”

The native logger said he’ll fight back against the new legislation, which he says will have a “massive” impact on lives.

“They haven’t won. I won’t be giving in that easy,” he said.

“I think the roll on effect will be massive compared to what the government are saying. There’s local fuel companies in country areas like Alexandria and that, who we buy our fuel off, and their workers and families.”

There are 21,000 people working in the Victorian forestry industry, with an estimated 2000 working with native timber.

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Image: Auscape