The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the Prime Minister’s commitment to make agriculture, fisheries and forestry a $100 billion industry in Australia by 2030. AFPA also welcomes the new House of Representatives Select Committee to examine rural and regional economies, Chief Executive Officer of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton said today.

“Australia’s renewable forest industries are primed for growth across the value chain, and the Prime Minister’s commitment to boost the size and scale of Australia’s primary industries, with the specific inclusion of forestry, is good news for our sector’s future development,” Mr Hampton said.

“We particularly welcome Tony Pasin MP, who will head up the work of the Select Committee which will provide key inputs into the process. Mr Pasin is a great advocate of our regionally based forest industries and is Co-Convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Forestry and Forest Products group in the Federal Parliament.

“Today’s announcement builds on the specific forest industries plan announced by the Government last year. The National Forest Industries Plan included a goal to plant one billion new production trees over the next decade to meet future supply challenges. There is much work and much opportunity in realising that goal.

“During the Federal Election campaign AFPA strongly pushed the case for funding 13 Regional Forest Industry Hubs in strategic locations around Australia. Five have been funded so far with four more promised for next year. These hubs are vital to ensure more trees get planted in the right places at the right scale and that forestry growth occurs where it is most positive for local communities. We are also looking forward to working with the Federal Government to turbo charge our industries through the $500 million loan scheme also announced during the Federal Election.

“Forest industries are some of Australia’s most renewable and sustainable industries, creating high quality fibre products for purposes from building construction to everyday life. There are huge opportunities to grow our industries, and the Government’s focus will help that cause,” Mr Hampton concluded.