The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) and Timber NSW welcomes the $71.8 million funding commitment earmarked in today’s NSW Budget for forest industry initiatives, including investment in new forest plantations.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said, “Australia’s renewable forest industries need substantial policies to underpin continued investment and innovation and sustain important regional jobs. The NSW Government’s significant funding commitment today is a huge step in the right direction and shows the Australian Government the way.”

Chief Executive Officer of Timber NSW, Ms Maree McCaskill said, “NSW’s forest industries contribute $2.4 billion annually to the NSW economy and directly employ over 22,000 people across the value chain, with almost half of the workforce based in regional and rural NSW. This funding package in today’s Budget is welcome and will underpin renewed industry investment, economic development and important regional jobs in NSW. We hope that some of the money earmarked for plantations can assist with increasing the supply of quality hardwood and softwood.”

The 2018-19 NSW Government State Budget contains a $71.8 million forest industry funding package over 4 years (Page 5-10, BP3), including:

·             $24 million investment in plantations through Forestry Corporation NSW to increase supply;

·             $34 million for a concessional loan scheme to drive mill innovation;

·             $9.2 million for world-class forest mapping and monitoring; and

·             $4.6 million to support training and accreditation for forestry contractors.

“Earlier this year, AFPA released a document Towards a National Forest Industries Plan: Key Industry Askswhich outlined the significant policy initiatives that our renewable forest industries require to remain a strong part of Australia’s economic and social future. Investment in new forest plantations of the right trees, in the right places and at the right scale is a fundamental building block for our renewable forest industries,” Mr Hampton concluded.

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