The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed Federal Labor’s commitment, that should it be elected, a Labor Government will deliver “a comprehensive strategic plan” for the forest sector, Chief Executive Officer of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton said today.

Labor’s Agriculture spokesperson the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon made the commitment whilst campaigning in the federal electorate of Braddon in Tasmania yesterday. Labor held a forest industries roundtable in Tasmania which included AFPA and member companies.

Industry raised the issue of existing impediments to forestry fully participating in national carbon reduction strategies. Mr Fitzgibbon committed Federal Labor to addressing these barriers to boost the role plantations can play in reducing Australia’s emissions “through a new Carbon Farming Initiative”.

The Chief Executive Officer of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton said, “Forest industries have long argued that the approach of “set and forget” regarding forest industries in this country has been a recipe for stagnation.  We have had no national policies to drive productive tree planting for a decade and therefore no new areas of plantations, and in fact we are going backwards in actual area.

“Without trees we cannot expect our domestic manufacturers to invest in the equipment needed to assure future regional jobs growth.  We have warmly welcomed the Turnbull Government’s $20 million Budget commitment towards a National Forest Industries Plan and eagerly await details of this to be announced in September.

“It is very pleasing that Federal Labor has now also embraced the concept of a national plan but to make an “apples for apples” comparison, forest industries need to see the detail of both plans well before the federal election. We will also need to see, as a fundamental plank in both plans, the policy prescription which will grow the available resource and how domestic manufacturers will be supported.

“Earlier this year, AFPA released a document titled “Towards a National Forest Industries Plan: Key Industry Asks”, which outlines the growth needs of forest industries and what the Federal Government and Opposition should include in any national plan,” Mr Hampton concluded. 

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