Council is pleased by the State Government’s grant funding announcement to support the Upper Yarra communities affected by the timber industry’s transition out of Victorian public forests.
The grant is part of the State Government’s Local Development Strategy grant program.
In 2019, the State Government announced a plan to phase out native forest harvesting in Victorian public forests by 2030, with $200 million pledged to help support the transition of workers, communities and businesses affected by the move over the coming years.
The funding will enable the development of a strategy with Powelltown, Yarra Junction and Warburton communities to support them through the transition, create jobs and lead to long-term economic and social benefits for the towns impacted.
Yarra Ranges Mayor, Cr Jim Child, said that it was important to recognise the substantial history that the timber industry has in the Upper Yarra.
“With over a 100-year history, this transition is profound and will affect families in the Upper Yarra who have ties with the timber industry, some of which go back four or five generations,” Cr Child said.
“Council’s role and focus is to support the community through this transition as best we can.
“The funding will provide for the establishment of a volunteer committee, made up of members from Powelltown, Yarra Junction and Warburton to assist in developing a strategy moving forward.
“This committee will essentially lead this initiative and generate ideas to provide jobs and great outcomes for the Upper Yarra community.
“The funding also supports the appointment of a Project Manager and administration resources to oversee the project, run studies and comprehensive engagement with the communities throughout the development of the strategy.”
Council will continue to keep the community updated with next steps as part of the transition.