Millions In Support Announced For Jobless Workers As Logging End In Victoria

Victoria will fast-track its timeline to ban native forest logging, with the industry set to cease by the end of the year.

A transition package of more than $200 million will be announced in today’s state budget which includes support for workers who will be jobless at the end of the year.

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The state government announced in 2019 it would phase out native timber logging by 2030, with a plan in place to support the sector as it transitioned, backing long-term, sustainable jobs, and giving local workers confidence about their future.

But a variety of factors, including increasingly severe bushfires, prolonged legal action and court decisions has already left so many Victorians without work or in job “limbo” which the government said, “cannot continue”.

As part of the package, the government’s Free TAFE program will retrain workers, helping them get jobs in growing regional industries like construction, agriculture, transport, and manufacturing.

It will be supported by up to $8,000 in retraining vouchers for courses inside and outside the TAFE Network.

The package will also provide financial and mental health support for workers and their families, connecting them to specialist mental health service providers and covering out-of-pocket costs.

Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney said the government’s focus was on workers and their families.

“We absolutely do not take this lightly, but the uncertainty cannot continue,” she said.

“We will back local communities with the financial support, secure jobs and training, and one-on-one case management they need.”

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