Senator Bushby, Minister for Agriculture David Littlepround and Senator Martin

Tasmania’s forest industries stand to harvest the benefits of a $20 million investment thanks to the Nationals in Government.

Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the growth potential for forestry here in Tasmania—and across the nation—remained enormous, with the sector directly employing more than 70,000 people.

“We want to ensure our forestry industry remains competitive and can adapt to evolving market preferences,” Senator Martin said.

“Through this plan the Nationals in Government are setting out the infrastructure needed to grow the forestry industry in at least three regional forestry hubs across the country and identifying potential forest resources close to processors and ports. These assessments will assist policy development for plantations expansion opportunities, infrastructure needs, and additional processing potential and future employment opportunities.” 

Minister Littleproud said the investment would boost forestry job opportunities.

“We understand Australia needs another 400,000 hectares of plantation to produce enough to cater for demand,” Mr Littleproud said. “That’s why we are investing $20 million to boost regional forestry job opportunities and grow Australia’s renewable timber and wood-fibre industry. Further to this, we’ll soon release our Forest Industry Plan, supporting growth in a key sustainable, long-term growth engine for regional Australia. We will improve existing forest resources on privately and Indigenous owned and managed land and drive the innovation, research and development of new products in the forestry industry.”

This funding will be invested into:

  •  Growing farm forestry in Australia;
  • Research and Development to try to get more out of the wood we use and to create modern products; and
  • Developing at least three regional hubs, where the land and infrastructure such as roads and ports lends itself to forestry.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck welcomed the announcement. 

“Confidence in the forest industry has returned and so have the jobs, the investments and the exports,” Mr Colbeck said.

“Tasmania’s foresters have shown unequivocally how dynamic they can be without the drag of twin Labor-Green Governments.”

The National Forestry Industry Plan builds upon the work undertaken by the Forest Industry Advisory Council and will be launched later this year. 

Fast facts:

  • $20 million to implement the soon-to-be-released National Forestry Industry Plan and drive growth in renewable timber and wood fibre industries.
  • The sales and service income of Australia’s forest product industries amounted to $23.7 billion in 2015-16.
  • With a total log harvest of over 33 million cubic metres in 2016-17, worth $2.6 billion, the forestry sector makes a large contribution to both the Australian economy and many regional and rural economies.