Australia’s forest products sector welcomes the agreed priorities from yesterday’s Commonwealth-States forestry ministers meeting. Ministers agreed to focus on increasing resource security, expanding forestry’s contribution to climate change mitigation and expanding the production of timber and wood products. The meeting also agreed to support development of the National Strategic Plan, the Timber Fibre Strategy being developed by the Strategic Partnership that is co-chaired by AFPA and the CFMEU, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Joel Fitzgibbon said today.
“I appreciated the opportunity to attend and address yesterday’s meeting, standing in for AFPA Chair Diana Gibbs. The collective commitment from the ministers on support for the Timber Fibre Strategy along with future workplan priorities for the sector is welcomed. Support for the Timber Fibre Strategy is particularly noted because shows real commitment from Minister to work with and listen to the sector and stakeholders,” Joel Fitzgibbon said.
Importantly, the meeting communique issued by Federal Minister, Murray Watt’s office following the meeting, stated:
The meeting agreed their future workplan will focus on the agreed priorities of:
• increasing resource security and domestic supply volumes
• expanding the production of timber and wood products
• expanding forestry’s contribution to climate change mitigation
• expanding timber industry workforce opportunities and capacity
• continued sustainable management of forests.
The Ministers tasked officials to draft a workplan for their future consideration and to establish an officials’ meeting to support Forestry Ministers.
Ministers agreed to meet again in October 2023, including to review the draft workplan.
Joel Fitzgibbon said, “It was also pleasing workforce and sustainable forest management were included as priorities for the workplan. We also welcome the establishment of the new officials’ meeting format.
“Getting more trees in the ground to boost resource security while continuing to manage our sustainable native forest estates is essential for Australia’s sovereign capability. Australia’s ability to lead the world on how sustainable forestry can fight climate change is also an enormous opportunity for our sector.
“I thank Minister Watt and all of the state and territory ministers for attending and participating in yesterday’s meeting. AFPA will continue to work with all governments and stakeholders to progress yesterday’s outcomes,” Joel Fitzgibbon concluded.