Union takes anti-woodchipping stand
The construction division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has distanced itself from the recent activities of the union's forestry division in the woodchip debate.
Martin Kingham, Victorian state secretary of the CFMEU (Building Unions Division), said on January 25 that his union supported the principle of environmentally sustainable development to be applied to the management of both overseas and native forests.
"The building and construction industry relies on a reliable supply of pre-processed timber products, so that we don't see any value in a large percentage of logged trees just going to the chipper and off to Japan.
"In the past, the CFMEU has taken industrial action against the importing of rainforest timber on both environmental and safety grounds.
"We support an efficient domestic timber industry that will satisfy the demands of our local commercial construction and housing industries."
Kingham said that his branch did not support the exploitation of native forests where many logged trees received no "value adding" within Australia. He also called for the forest debate within the union movement to be conducted along the guidelines of the 1991 and 1993 ACTU congress decisions.
"More emphasis needs to be placed on establishing timber plantations and less on native forest exploitation. National ACTU policy across the board is based on environmentally sustainable development principles. The timber industry needs to apply these principles in a calm, realistic fashion", Kingham concluded.