New re­search hub boost for Mt Gam­bier -

Australian Forests and Timber - - Front Page -

In a ma­jor boost to the South East’s $1.2 bil­lion for­est in­dus­try and the thou­sands of re­gional jobs it sup­ports, the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted $2 mil­lion to­wards a Na­tional In­sti­tute for For­est Prod­ucts In­no­va­tion Hub in Mount Gam­bier.

The hub will be based at UniSA’s Mount Gam­bier cam­pus and is the re­sult of a State Gov­ern­ment part­ner­ship with the univer­sity and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment – which has also com­mit­ted $2 mil­lion over four years to­wards the hub.

An in­dus­try-driven re­gional ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee will be es­tab­lished to de­ter­mine pri­or­ity re­search projects for the for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try – which cur­rently sus­tains around 4000 jobs in the South East.

It is ex­pected op­er­a­tions at the hub will com­mence by the end of this year.

The Fed­eral and State Gov­ern­ments have each com­mit­ted $2 mil­lion over four years ($500,000 per an­num) to­wards the Na­tional In­sti­tute for For­est Prod­ucts In­no­va­tion Hub and it’s ex­pected it will also se­cure financial sup­port di­rect from in­dus­try.

The hub will play a vi­tal role in fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion, sup­port­ing cut­ting edge re­search, boost­ing in­no­va­tion, main­tain­ing jobs and mak­ing Mount Gam­bier one of the ma­jor cen­tres for for­est-in­dus­try re­search in the coun­try. The hub’s ac­tiv­i­ties will en­hance the strength of the Green Tri­an­gle re­gion which is al­ready one of Aus­tralia’s most im­por­tant re­gions for the grow­ing and pro­cess­ing of tim­ber.

The hub will also build upon the ex­ten­sive in­for­ma­tion ForestrySA has gen­er­ated over many years of re­search.

The fa­cil­ity will be a ma­jor as­set for the South East as it pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal in­dus­try to in­flu­ence the re­search pri­or­i­ties and ap­ply the re­search lo­cally.

“Cut­ting edge re­search is vi­tal to any in­dus­try and forestry offers so much po­ten­tial and it’s ex­cit­ing South Aus­tralia will soon be home to one of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing for­est and wood prod­ucts re­search in­sti­tutes in the coun­try,” said SA Forestry Min­is­ter Leon Bignell.

“Hav­ing in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly in ca­pac­ity and in­fra­struc­ture build­ing in Mount Gam­bier in re­cent years, our part­ner­ship in this in­valu­able re­search and de­vel­op­ment hub for the forestry in­dus­try will sup­port real in­no­va­tion in South Aus­tralia,” said UniSA Vice Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor David Lloyd.

“As Aus­tralia’s Univer­sity of En­ter­prise this is ex­actly the kind of part­ner­ship where our re­searchers can add value to in­dus­try and sup­port eco­nomic growth in the State and sig­nif­i­cantly, in re­gional South Aus­tralia,” Pro­fes­sor Lloyd said.

"UniSA re­searchers will be work­ing to find in­no­va­tive im­prove­ments and so­lu­tions re­lated to wa­ter sus­tain­abil­ity and qual­ity, mea­sur­ing and man­ag­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity, im­prov­ing waste man­age­ment and en­ergy use, grow­ing forestry through prod­uct in­no­va­tions and mar­ket­ing and en­sur­ing a sus­tain­able fu­ture for the in­dus­try in the Mt Gam­bier re­gion.

"As Aus­tralia’s Univer­sity of En­ter­prise this is ex­actly the kind of part­ner­ship where our re­searchers can add value to in­dus­try and sup­port eco­nomic growth in the State and sig­nif­i­cantly, in re­gional South Aus­tralia," Pro­fes­sor Lloyd said.

“This in­vest­ment is recog­ni­tion that in a car­bon con­strained global econ­omy in which re­new­able re­sources are at a pre­mium, the for­est prod­ucts in­dus­try can play a key role in Aus­tralia’s in­no­va­tion agenda,” said Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion (AFPA) CEO Ross Hamp­ton.

“With a $2 mil­lion com­mit­ment from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and ad­di­tional com­mit­ments from in­dus­try over time, the In­sti­tute has the po­ten­tial to be­come the fo­cal point of a strate­gic net­work of re­search ‘nodes’ that re­flect in­dus­try pri­or­i­ties, and re­in­forc­ing the good work be­ing done in other in­dus­try-led R&D ef­forts.”

The ma­jor path­ways for our in­dus­tries to con­trib­ute to cli­mate change pol­icy and Aus­tralia’s in­no­va­tion agenda in­clude:

• the car­bon se­questered in grow­ing forests;

• the car­bon stored in har­vested wood and pa­per prod­ucts;

• the sub­sti­tu­tion of high emis­sions ma­te­ri­als (e.g. steel, con­crete) with wood and other fi­bre based prod­ucts that have low em­bod­ied en­ergy, in­clud­ing new in­no­va­tive bio­prod­ucts; and the use of woody biomass for re­new­able and baseload en­ergy gen­er­a­tion (in­clud­ing for re­new­able heat and bio­fu­els), thereby dis­plac­ing fos­sil fu­els.

The Na­tional In­sti­tute for For­est Prod­ucts In­no­va­tion will have two nodes, one in Mt Gam­bier and the other in Launceston (Tas­ma­nia).

Po­ten­tial to be­come the fo­cal point of a strate­gic net­work of re­search ‘nodes’ that re­flect in­dus­try pri­or­i­ties

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