Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments back ‘Trans­form­ing Aus­tralia’s for­est prod­ucts in­dus­try’ agenda

Australian Forests and Timber - - In The News - By Sen­a­tor Anne Rus­ton As­sis­tant Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Water Re­sources

Tues­day 12 Septem­ber was a red let­ter day for the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Aus­tralia’s forestry in­dus­try and Aus­tralian gov­ern­ments. Fed­eral, state and ter­ri­tory forestry min­is­ters com­bined to re­lease a joint state­ment of sup­port and Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull gave an ad­dress to the third bi­en­nial Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion gala din­ner, back­ing the in­dus­try and its 120,000 work­ers.

Min­is­te­rial Forestry State­ment

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing with my state and ter­ri­tory forestry min­is­ter col­leagues I was proud to sign, on be­half of the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment, an his­toric state­ment back­ing the Aus­tralian forestry in­dus­try and its work­ers.

The state­ment backed the For­est In­dus­try Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil’s re­port, ‘Trans­form­ing Aus­tralia’s for­est prod­ucts in­dus­try’ and the fu­ture it en­vi­sions.

“We, the Com­mon­wealth, state and ter­ri­tory forestry min­is­ters, strongly sup­port Aus­tralia’s forestry in­dus­tries. We be­lieve that they have an eco­nom­i­cally, so­cially and en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able and pros­per­ous fu­ture.

We col­lec­tively endorse the ob­jec­tives of the For­est In­dus­try Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil’s re­port, ‘Trans­form­ing Aus­tralia’s for­est prod­ucts in­dus­try’. We strongly sup­port its vi­sion that the forestry in­dus­tries will lead the tran­si­tion to a bio-econ­omy of which Aus­tralians can be proud and the ob­jec­tives of:

• hav­ing the right trees in the right place at the right scale

• pro­duc­ing bio-prod­ucts us­ing all parts of the tree to a cel­lu­lar level

• be­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, so­cially re­spon­si­ble and val­ued by the com­mu­nity. We value the in­dus­tries’ sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Aus­tralia’s well­be­ing. The forestry in­dus­tries pro­vide jobs in re­gional economies across Aus­tralia. It is an in­no­va­tive sec­tor, pro­vid­ing new prod­ucts and on­go­ing em­ploy­ment in re­gional Aus­tralia, to­day and into the fu­ture.

We recog­nise that the in­dus­tries source wood from sus­tain­ably man­aged forests.

We sup­port the sus­tain­able man­age­ment of Aus­tralia’s na­tive forests, and through this, pro­vid­ing tim­ber re­sources for in­dus­try while pro­tect­ing high value na­tive forests.

We recog­nise that the forestry in­dus­tries strive to bal­ance their re­source use with the main­te­nance of en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­ci­etal val­ues.

We be­lieve that Aus­tralia’s forestry in­dus­tries have an im­por­tant role to play in tran­si­tion­ing to a lower car­bon econ­omy. Sus­tain­able for­est man­age­ment and the use of emerg­ing for­est prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies will play an im­por­tant role in de­liv­er­ing this fu­ture for all Aus­tralians.

We sup­port col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­op­er­a­tion among all gov­ern­ments and in­dus­try to achieve shared out­comes.

We com­mit to work­ing to­gether to en­sure the on­go­ing fu­ture of Aus­tralia’s forestry in­dus­tries.”

The state­ment reaf­firmed our strong sup­port for the sec­tor, and our on­go­ing com­mit­ment to work to­gether to achieve cer­tainty into the fu­ture for the in­dus­try.

Prime Min­is­ter’s ad­dress to 2017 gala in­dus­try din­ner

The Great Hall at Par­lia­ment House hosted the third bi­en­nial Aus­tralian For­est Prod­ucts As­so­ci­a­tion gala in­dus­try din­ner. Prime Min­is­ter Turn­bull ex­pressed the Gov­ern­ment’s strong sup­port for in­dus­try plans to in­crease ex­ports.

“… in many re­spects its great­est re­source is you and it’s won­der­ful that you’re so com­mit­ted, you’re so in­spired, you’re so de­ter­mined to do more. The am­bi­tions you’ve de­scribed of ex­port­ing more is so im­por­tant.

“We should be a for­est in­dus­try in­ter­na­tional pow­er­house. We have the trees, we have the great in­dus­try, we have the science …”

In com­mit­ting to help the in­dus­try the Prime Min­is­ter stated:

“… tonight I am very pleased to an­nounce that Anne Rus­ton to help us de­velop a new gov­ern­ment plan that will un­der­pin growth in the re­new­able tim­ber and wood fi­bre in­dus­try”..

“Anne’s work and our new gov­ern­ment plan will give you the vi­sion and cer­tainty you need. We’re com­mit­ted to de­vel­op­ing this in­dus­try as a growth en­gine for re­gional Aus­tralia”.

I am deeply hon­oured to have been asked by the Prime Min­is­ter to lead the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to de­velop a new plan and strat­egy for the forestry sec­tor in Aus­tralia.

The For­est In­dus­try Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil’s re­port ‘Trans­form­ing Aus­tralia’s for­est prod­ucts in­dus­try’ out­lined a strat­egy ‘to triple the eco­nomic value of the for­est in­dus­try by 2050’. Our new gov­ern­ment plan will be de­vel­oped with the goal of as­sist­ing the Aus­tralian forestry in­dus­try reach its po­ten­tial over the com­ing decades.

With the sup­port of Aus­tralia’s fed­eral and state and ter­ri­tory forestry min­is­ters, the de­vel­op­ment of this new plan, and the in­no­va­tions and changes that the forestry in­dus­try are al­ready un­der­tak­ing we can work col­lec­tively to achieve this im­por­tant goal of tripling the value of the in­dus­try over the next 30 years.

As the As­sis­tant Min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for forestry, I will con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate with any­one who shares the ideals of sup­port­ing Aus­tralia’s forestry in­dus­try and their sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to Aus­tralia and our re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

This is an ex­cit­ing time for forestry. Its in­dus­tries will play an im­por­tant role in de­liv­er­ing an in­no­va­tive and pros­per­ous fu­ture for all Aus­tralians.

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