- McGowan Government supporting workers with the transition towards the end of native forest logging
- Worker Transition Payment of up to $45,000 in the event of redundancy or a sawmill closure
- Eligible workers can also receive up to $2,500 for training and reskilling support
- Up to an additional $5,000 support for workers to assist with new employment costs
- Workers need to pre-register for support programs via https://nft.smartygrants.com.au/WorkforcePreRegistration by 3pm April 6
An agreement has been reached with the Australian Workers Union on a range of financial support programs for native forestry workers to assist them to transition to a new industry before native forest logging ends in Western Australia in 2024.
The Workforce Transition Program provides financial assistance to employees in the native timber industry. This includes both a transition payment and a range of reskilling and retraining supports to assist workers as they take the next step in their careers.
The Workforce Transition Program will include financial assistance through a one-off Worker Transition Payment of up to $10,000 for full-time native forestry workers and casual employees working more than 22.5 hours per week, who decide to voluntarily exit the industry to retrain or find new employment.
Should a sawmill choose to close or a native timber worker be made redundant, the package includes a Worker Transition Payment of $30,000, plus a top-up or scaled variable payment of $1,000 per year of service in the timber industry to a maximum of $15,000.
This means an eligible, long-term native forestry worker could receive a total Worker Transition Payment of up to $45,000.
Part-time workers and casual workers with a demonstrated reliance on native forestry for at least the past two years, will also be eligible for a Worker Transition Payment on a pro rata basis based on evidence of average weekly hours.
Minister Kelly today also announced a Reskilling, Retraining and New Employment Support Program which is designed to help workers secure new employment in their region or other locations.
Eligible workers who need to retrain to undertake a new role in a business transitioning from native forestry can receive up to $2,500 towards external training support from TAFE or an approved provider.
A job matching service is available for workers, with up to $500 provided to assist workers to prepare a resume in preparation for seeking employment.
New employment or training support of up $5,000 will also be available to assist with purchasing work attire, PPE or tools to engage new employment, or for workers who need to relocate for new employment within the native forest timber region.
A pre-registration site has been launched for those workers applying for the support programs. To be considered for a support program, workers will need to register at https://nft.smartygrants.com.au/WorkforcePreRegistration by 3pm April 6, 2022.
A proposal outlining business support programs that provide a range of financial support to transitioning native forestry businesses has also been released to key stakeholders and industry representatives for consultation.
Separate programs to support communities and attract new industries to the South-West region are also currently being developed.
The programs will be funded through the WA Government's $50 million Just Transition Plan, which was announced in September 2021 to provide support to native forestry workers and businesses, drive further diversification of local economies and assist in identifying and securing sustainable job opportunities.
Comments attributed to Forestry Minister Dave Kelly:
"The decision to end the logging of native forests from 2024 is critical in the fight against climate change and will ensure we protect our beautiful South-West forests for future generations.
"The McGowan Government's $50 million Just Transition Plan will support workers, businesses and communities with links to the native forestry industry.
"Over recent months we have been listening closely to workers and working closely with the Australian Workers Union to develop these support programs.
"We will continue to consult with the native forestry industry and other stakeholders before finalising the Just Transition Plan.
"The McGowan Government's record $350 million expansion of our pine estate will ensure we have a long-term sustainable forestry industry in WA."
Minister's office - 6552 6100