Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Issues logged at Benalla

Forestry was under the spotlight when Federal Parliamentary Secretary Sid Sidebottom came to town.

March 1, 2013 4:44am

(L-R) Joyleen McNulty, Greg McNulty, Sid Sidebottom and Des McNulty, at Ryan & McNulty's Sawmill.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sid Sidebottom, paid a visit to Ryan & McNulty Sawmillers last week to gain insight into the challenges facing the logging industry.

Mr Sidebottom said he wanted to visit the sawmill because it was a successful company with a strong reputation.

‘‘This is a highly recognised, acknowledged company with a wonderful reputation both for what they do here and in their community,’’ Mr Sidebottom said.

‘‘They’re a successful company because what they do, they do well.

‘‘They have a high regard for their resource which is so crucial in the sawmilling industry and they have a high regard for their workers.’’

Mr Sidebottom visited the Benalla sawmill as part of a four-day visit to the region, including University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus, the National Dairy Education Centre in Shepparton, Dairy Australia and Farmer Power, and the National Forestry Future conference.

The visit served as an opportunity to gather valuable information from farmers and businesses in the north-east region about the issues facing the dairy and logging industries.

‘‘They (the McNultys) have raised issues with me, for instance, the importance of tackling illegal logging both in Australia and particularly internationally,’’ Mr Sidebottom said.

He said other issues that had been raised included the importance of the regional forest agreements and difficulties in securing finance.

‘‘I think the difficulty and issue that they’ve raised to me is getting the balance right between environmental protectionism and activism, and sustainable use of the resource,’’ Mr Sidebottom said.

‘‘We’ve got to do our bit in terms of policy, both economic and specifically for forestry, to give certainty to this industry.’’

Mr Sidebottom said he hoped to gain valuable insight from his visits to the north-east region that would allow the Federal Government to implement strategies to help those in the industry.

‘‘Hopefully we’re going to get some good, practical solutions for people,’’ he said.

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