A PARLIAMENTARY inquiry into the handling of timber harvesting in Victoria's state forests by VicForests has been established.
The inquiry, launched by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman, will examine the management of VicForests, following the closure of Heyfield's Australian Sustainable Hardwoods as a "direct consequence of not being able to secure log supply from VicForests", and ending secure employment for 260 direct employees and impacting on up to 7000 downstream jobs.
"The inquiry will look into how the management of our forest timber supplies has been permitted to get into such a dire state that it has put the sustainable Victorian timber industry at risk" Mr Bourman said.
"We are seeing timber mills across the state either closed, or in the process of closure, due to lack of wood supply instead of seeing a booming and diverse rural industry."
The inquiry will seek to provide answers to the Heyfield community and all those who have felt the effects of the closure of timber harvesting.
It will also explore how wood supply projections can fluctuate so rapidly from healthy ongoing supply to nothing.
"This inquiry won't be a witch-hunt," added Mr Bourman.
"We just want to uncover the truth for the people and communities in regional Victoria who are hurting and who, I believe, deserve answers.
"Victoria has the resources, skills and experience to have a sustainable world leading timber industry, and we will only get to that point if we analyse at our mistakes and learn from them."