The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has launched its Key Industry Asks document ahead of the Government’s new National Forest Industries Plan which will be revealed in the second half of the year, CEO of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton, said today.

“Forest industries have been fighting for a new national blueprint from the Federal Government for many years, given the last major plan was delivered in 1992. We have very different industries in 2018 compared with the 1990s, and that requires new policy and approaches,” Mr Hampton said.

“For example, a failure to have policies in place to ensure plantings kept pace with our population growth has meant we are now experiencing a shortage of softwood and subsequent higher building costs for families,” Mr Hampton said.

Towards a National Forest Industries Plan – Key Industry Asks contains measures in five policy areas where modest change can trigger a surge in domestic manufacturing in Australia and add potentially 18,000 more jobs in regional communities. The five policy areas include:

  • Delivering more plantation trees.
  • Ensuring a sustainable native forest estate.
  • Unleashing a biofutures revolution.
  • Renewing research capability.
  • Fast tracking infrastructure and cutting red tape.

“AFPA will be liaising with all sides of politics and will encourage support from all Parties for these measures,” Mr Hampton said.

“We need new trees planted. We need certainty in supply for sustainable native forestry. We need to take advantage of bioproducts including bioenergy opportunities. We need to grow domestic manufacturing, encourage jobs, foster innovation and do our bit to help meet emission reduction targets. We need more investment in research and development. We need the right infrastructure and we need red tape removed to allow forest industries to operate efficiently and to open new opportunities,” Mr Hampton concluded.

AFPA’s prescription for 18,000 new regional jobs