23 May, 2011

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Yarra Valley loses potential 80 jobs after Reflex boycott

Alex Munro
Leader Newspapers, 23 May 2011

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Yarra Valley loses potential 80 jobs after Reflex boycott - Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader - News - Leader News : http://leader-news.whereilive.com.au/news/story/paper-stand-fallout/

THE state’s peak timber industry body has pulled out of plans to move their head office and 80 potential jobs to the Yarra Valley because of council’s decision to boycott Reflex paper.

The revelation came as Cr Chris Templer broke ranks to attack Yarra Ranges Council’s April 27 decision to sign the Wilderness Society’s ethical paper pledge, calling it a mistake based on an ideological opinion.

Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh confirmed last week that an offer to move VicForests’ main office to either Yarra Glen or Healesville had been withdrawn because of council’s support of the pledge.

“The proposal was under active consideration, however in light of the council’s recent decision to take the so-called ethical paper pledge I have since written advising them that the relocation is off the table,” Mr Walsh said.

“The council has been hypocritical in seeking to attract VicForests while actively campaigning against a product that forms part of its core business.”

It is believed councillors discussed the pledge again at a meeting last week and re-affirmed their support for it.

Mayor Terry Avery said relocating VicForests to the valley would have demonstrated commitment to expanding employment and stimulating economies directly affected by Black Saturday. “We are disappointed that Minister Walsh has chosen to establish a direct link between the two unrelated issues,” Cr Avery said.

Yarra Glen Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Bob Curtis furiously condemned signing the pledge, saying the town would welcome VicForests with open arms.

“The council needs to revoke this decision immediately, and then beg the government and VicForests to bring the office out here,” Mr Curtis said.

“Their green protest has just cost 80 potential jobs for towns that are in absolute need of them.”

MyEnvironment director Sarah Rees said it was deplorable for the State Government to blackmail the council over its decision to represent the rights of its constituents.

Has the council made a mistake? Tell us what you think at the end of this page.

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