Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes says the government has been "straight-up" in shutting down Victoria's native timber processing.
The statement follows Ms Symes writing to Corryong sawmill owner Graham Walker last month and telling him "it is the Victorian Government's view that the careful management of Victoria's State forest can support the sustainable supply of resources as well as the protection of biodiversity".
Asked by The Border Mail about the contradiction between her assurance to Mr Walker and the native timber termination announced last week by Premier Daniel Andrews, Ms Symes hit back.
"It's not right to say the government has acted in any other than a straight-up manner," Ms Symes said.
The minister was also quizzed about the discrepancy by Nationals MLC Melina Bath in parliamentary question time on Tuesday.
"Why did you mislead business owners like Mr Walker when your government has planned all along to shut down the native timber industry?" Ms Bath said.
Ms Symes defended her message to Mr Walker.
"I maintain that the same letter would be written to Mr Walker today in relation to the sustainability of his future as would have been written on 7 October," Ms Symes said.
She said VicForests had an agreement to supply Mr Walker until 2024 and there was an option to extend to 2030.
"He has many options in relation to transitioning," Ms Symes said.
But Mr Walker told The Border Mail it would not be viable for his mill to switch to processing plantation timber.
"With softwood you use a bandsaw and all our saws are circular saws," Mr Walker said.
"The circular saws rip the softwood instead of cutting, a bandsaw cuts it cleanly.
"It's a totally different ball game, we've set up for logs 35 centimetres up to 100 centimetres, while pine trees are 20 centimetres or 40 centimetres."
Daniel Andrews knows there will be no plantation timber ready to provide for the 22 jobs that will be lost in Corryong & yet these myths are pedaled by him & his Ministers.— Bill Tilley (@billtilleymla) November 12, 2019
SHAME ON YOU
SHAME FOR THE LOST JOBS
SHAME FOR THE BROKEN PROMISES
Mr Walker said hardwood was all the mill is "designed for and all it's basically good for".
He said with big softwood mills at Myrtleford and Tumut he would be unable to compete in that field.
In addition to the pallets, Walkers Sawmill produces wood chips, saw dust and mulch.
Chips are exported, saw dust goes to stables and potting mix, and the mulch is used by gardening centres.
CHEP declined to comment on the situation.
It does use plastic and softwood pallets in addition to hardwood models which are considered more robust.