The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) urges the National Party not to forget the forest industry during its upcoming ‘listening tour’ of regional Australia.
“The forest industry is such a major contributor to many regional communities it is vital that Minister McCormack talk to us as he tours regional Australia”, said AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton.
“I trust that the announced refresh of the Coalition’s regional development policy clearly recognises the important role of the forest products industry in strengthening regional economies and creating local employment opportunities. In a significant number of towns forest industries are the keystone industry holding whole communities together.”
Around 120,000 people are directly employed along the industry value chain – many in regional areas. The industry has an annual turnover of over $20 billion, making it one of Australia’s largest regional manufacturing industries.
Mr Hampton said, “This review of regional policy will be incomplete if it does not reignite wood plantations policy. We are going backwards in terms of available resource and yet in a carbon constrained global economy, where renewable and recyclable brings a premium we should be growing both our plantation and natural forest industries. The first step is the Government to welcome rotational forest plantings in the Direct Action auctions. Forest industries take heart that, as the federal member for one of Australia’s premier wood baskets, Mr McCormack knows this all too well.”