Bunnings defiant despite VicForests win

26/05/2021

BunningsBunnings responded to a union plea for the Victorian Government’s assistance to discuss with the hardware store over a ban to stock local hardwood, by maintaining that an effective VicForests Court Appeal does not mean the state-owned forestry company is meeting timber sourcing best practice.

In a statement supplied to The Mandarin, Bunnings General Manager of Merchandise, Toby Watson said Bunnings would not reverse its decision to ban the use of trees logged in Victoria currently.

Mr Watson described that Bunnings’ lumber policy required suppliers to source from lawful, responsibly sourced and also well managed forest operations. While the recent Federal Court decision to support VicForests’ appeal meant it had acted according to the law, this did not necessarily indicate the operations fulfilled other requirements under the store’s policy, he claimed.

“We’ve reviewed the court’s decision in detail to understand the implications in relation to our timber policy. While the court reversed a single finding relating to the EPBC Act, it upheld the trial judge’s 21 other findings regarding the effect of VicForests’ forestry operations on the environment,” Mr Watson said in the report. 

VicForests’ existing practices continued to fall short of the requirements of Bunning’s timber policy, according to Mr Watson, who said the store was open to working with stakeholders to find some future solution. He added that Bunnings remained committed to sourcing the majority of its timber supplies from within Australia and New Zealand.

“We are committed to working closely with industry, government and environmental organisations to continue to improve our timber sourcing and help ensure the long-term sustainability of Australian forestry. This includes continuing to purchase the majority of the timber we sell from sources within Australia and New Zealand that meet our policy requirements for legal, well-managed and responsible forest operations,” Mr Watson said in the report.

More recently The Mandarin reported that the CFMEU was lobbying the Victorian Federal Government to help persuade Bunnings that its ban on Victorian woods was unjustly vindictive. The union’s Michael O’Connor argued that since the logging was done in accordance with the law, “the ban had no real justification”.

By Christine Bannister