Eliza Berlage, Naracoorte Community News
The head of the local forestry industry group has added his voice to calls for the South Australian government to establish a dedicated cross-border commissioner.
Forestry was missed in the initial list of essential work provided by SA Health, with clariﬁcation only received at 11am on the ﬁrst day of lockdown that it was included as primary industry.
Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub chair Ian McDonnell said a commissioner could have ensured more preparedness in these situations, rather than the “scramble” that occurred.
“You need someone with full-time attention on those issues,” Mr McDonnell said.
“Appointing someone as a go-to person is going to make lives a lot easier for a lot of people.
“At the moment nobody seemed to know what was going on.
“When you look at our industry, like any other, when you shut it down for 24 hours it takes a lot to get it going again.
“And it’s a lot of unnecessary expense and a dilemma for a lot of people… it is the uncertainty that is the ridiculous part of it.”
Mr McDonnell said some local mills had continued operations, while others were expected to recommence last Wednesday.
“I don’t underestimate the complexity of the situation for the government but if they work with industry and communities their job will be a lot easier,” he said.
The [Naracoorte Community] News understands some industry workers were initially stood down for the week with full pay.
The timber industry has one of the largest numbers of workers in the Limestone Coast.
Earlier this year Cross Border-Call Our organiser Paula Gust met with SA Premier Steven Marshall to request the government establish a dedicated commissioner.
This article appeared in Naracoorte Community News, 28 July 2021.