Fed­eral Par­lia­ment em­braces forestry and tim­ber in­dus­tries

Australian Forests and Timber - - VAFI -

IN A dra­matic il­lus­tra­tion of cross-party sup­port for the na­tion’s sus­tain­able forestry and for­est prod­uct in­dus­tries, the Aus­tralian La­bor Party and Coali­tion Par­ties have agreed to the cre­ation of a Fed­eral Par­lia­ment “Friends of Forestry and For­est Prod­ucts” group.

The new group will be co-con­vened by the Shadow Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Forestry Joel Fitzgib­bon from the ALP and Tony Pasin the Lib­eral Mem­ber for Barker in the South Aus­tralian Green Tri­an­gle area.

And, in a show of in­dus­try ac­cep­tance of the move, the Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion says it is “ready to as­sist in any way we can as the par­tic­i­pat­ing MPs and Sen­a­tors seek to bet­ter un­der­stand the Aus­tralian tree grow­ing, re­plant­ing, milling and as­so­ci­ated man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries in their elec­torates or states”.

“Our world renowned forestry and for­est prod­ucts in­dus­tries pro­vide year round jobs for some 80,000 Aus­tralians - many in re­gional ar­eas. It is vi­tal that na­tional pol­icy set­tings ac­knowl­edge this fact and ad­dress some of the ur­gent chal­lenges we face

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“We will only get those ap­pro­pri­ate pol­icy set­tings if our na­tional lead­ers are well in­formed.

“I con­grat­u­late the Mem­ber for Barker Mr Pasin and the Mem­ber for Hunter Shadow Min­is­ter Fitzgib­bon for adding this vi­tal work to their ex­tremely crowded agen­das in Par­lia­ment House,” Ross said.

In stress­ing the im­por­tance of the group, Mr Pasin said: “The forestry sec­tor in the south-east of South Aus­tralia is the fun­da­men­tal driver of the econ­omy so rais­ing aware­ness among my par­lia­men­tary col­leagues of the im­por­tance of forestry and for­est prod­ucts in par­tic­u­lar is some­thing I’m pretty keen to achieve”.

Mr Fitzgib­bon said: “A crit­i­cal sec­tor for our econ­omy, and a sec­tor which has been held back en­vi­ron­ment – it’s un­nec­es­sary and we can get that bal­ance right”

Sen­a­tor Richard Col­beck, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary to the Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, said that March the as­pi­ra­tion then was to take forestry out of the po­lit­i­cal cy­cle and to make the in­dus­try one that didn’t have to be con­cerned about when the next elec­tion was com­ing around ... “to make it an in­dus­try that could get on with the job and not have to con­tinue com­ing to gov­ern­ment for as­sis­tance be­cause it was be­ing read­justed”.

“I agree with Joel, Aus­tralia is prob­a­bly 10 years be­hind Europe, a long way be­hind Canada and also be­hind New Zealand. My as­pi­ra­tion would be to bring us up to the lead and the prod­ucts that we have avail­able in Aus­tralia I think pro­vide us with the op­por­tu­nity to take some of the next steps in the de­vel­op­ment of prod­ucts out of tim­ber. For ex­am­ple, Aus­tralian hard­wood go­ing into CLT could take that whole con­cept to another de­sign level.

“There are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties that ex­ist here in this coun­try, so it’s re­ally great to see such strong sup­port from across the Par­lia­ment. I look for­ward to en­gag­ing with you all un­der the lead­er­ship of Joel and Tony. I con­grat­u­late both of you on the work that you’ve done putting this to­gether; it’s re­ally fan­tas­tic. But more im­por­tantly I look for­ward to be­ing able to put in place strong poli­cies that pro­vide for what is an im­por­tant fu­ture for a very im­por­tant in­dus­try for the coun­try, but par­tic­u­larly for re­gional Aus­tralia,” said Sen­a­tor Col­beck.

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