the roundtable – 27 aug
council meeting had to consider a motion to re-join Timber Towns, an advocacy
group whose purpose is to represent the interests of councils in relations to
pleased to report council voted to not re-join this advocacy group in a four/five vote against the motion.
continues to be a change to the culture and custom of Yarra Ranges Council, the
Mayor once again moved the motion to re-join and was seconded by Cr Callanan. Cr
Child talked about the serious socio economic issues in the O’Shannassy and
Ryrie wards and how the timber industry was an important employer across those
regions. He went on to quote economic data around the timber industry in what I
would describe as cherry picking to suit the argument. He talked about
$30.7million the timber industry contributes to the Yarra Ranges economy, the $19.9million
contribution in support services to the industry and the 62 people in
Powelltown who are employed directly in the industry.
I could not
support the motion, in speaking against the motion I wanted to clarify for
councillors the true economic picture of the industry in Yarra Ranges, using data sourced from the Yarra Ranges Economic Development Department. I
acknowledge the importance of the industry to townships like Powelltown but
could not see how being a member of Timber Towns would translate in protecting
and growing those jobs.
In terms of
the economic data, the $30.7milion contribution is a very small part of what is
a $10.5billion economy, it represents 0.2% of the total economy in the Yarra
Ranges. The $19.9million in support services is measured in support across the
agricultural sector, it includes the horticulture, viticulture and floriculture
industries, there will be a component that does support the timber industry but
very small in terms of the size of those other agricultural industries in Yarra
56 direct jobs in the timber industry, out of 35,000 jobs in Yarra Ranges.
There are 780 road transport jobs and a very small percentage of this figure
could be attributed to local timber cartage companies. There are 444 jobs in
Saw Mill, Wood & Paper Product Manufacturing, these cannot all be
attributed to sawmilling as the data includes prefabricated wooden building
manufacturing and wooden structural fitting and component manufacturing.
doubt that the community of Powelltown needs support, it was my view that we’d
be better off supporting that community directly and giving any money we are
considering for Timber Towns directly to them for community projects. We know that the timber industry is in contraction, supported by evidence given by Vic Forests at the recent Supreme Court case re logging in Toolangi.
more on this story later in the day in terms of what councillors said for and
against the motion.
Labels: cr samantha dunn, logging, yarra ranges