The Federal Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) has delivered almost $10 million of additional Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES) funding over four years – as well as additional ongoing funding – to deliver forestry data analysis to support industry development and positive environmental outcomes.
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chair, Joel Fitzgibbon said, “This funding is very welcome news for Australia’s forestry and forest products sector. The additional data and analysis of forestry resource will be incredibly beneficial for our sector and for policy and decision makers.”
The MYEFO update states the $9.7 million will be delivered over four years from 2023-24, with $2.8 million per year ongoing after that.
“AFPA has been calling for greater resourcing for ABARES forest economics and science and I congratulate Acting CEO Natasa Sikman and her team on their effective and successful advocacy efforts. Bring on the evidence-based policy, there is far too much mischievous disinformation circulating throughout the forestry conversation,” Joel Fitzgibbon said.
“The funding will generate more professionally independent expert analysis and data to inform industry and government on issues affecting the sector including its ability to contribute even more as a climate solution.
“We know the importance of the ABARES forestry teams’ ability to deliver timely and regular data, as well as Australia’s State of the Forests Report. This information is critical because it informs policy on a range of issues, from Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) to threatened species management, illegal logging and other industry issues. It also provides independent, thorough, and accurate information to fight the unfortunate increase in disinformation about the sector.
“ABARES is also responsible for plantations estate data. It’s important that this is updated in a timely manner to make sure everyone is aware of both the decline in the size of the estate and the need to turn that contraction around.
“Ultimately, without well considered and effective ABARES research, government and the sector cannot make the right decisions for the country. This research will provide critical support for the Minister’s Strategic Partnership, which I co-chair, to develop a long term “Timber Fibre Strategy”.
“I thank the Government for this additional and important funding. It will go to good use, providing the information needed to drive progress on our efforts to build sovereign capability at a time our imports are growing quickly,” Joel Fitzgibbon concluded.