Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack, has backed a Regional Forestry Hub in the South West Slopes (Tumut-Tumbarumba region) of southern NSW, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said today.
In a letter released today by the South West Slopes’ Softwoods Working Group (SWG), the Deputy Prime Minister expresses his ‘strong support’ for establishing a Regional Forestry Hub. He goes on to say there is ‘a compelling case for establishing a hub’ and commends the SWG push for the region to be a ‘pilot hub’.
The Tumut and Adelong Times has reported today the strong support for the idea from the Deputy Prime Minister.
In February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the launch of nine Regional Forestry Hubs, but said four would happen immediately and five would be delayed until 2020.
Tumut-Tumbarumba is in that list of delayed announcements.
“The South West Slopes of NSW is arguably one of the most important forest industry regions in Australia,” Mr Hampton said.
SWG Chair, Peter Crowe, was also quoted in the Tumut and Adelong Times saying ‘SWG is calling on the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck, to immediately confirm pilot hub status for the South West Slopes of NSW along with funding of $250,000 per annum for four years, to enable the implementation of the National Forest Industries Plan, to proceed in this vitally important region, without further delay.’
“With forest industries adding more than $1 billion annually to regional output and more than 50 per cent of the community employed in forest industries, the South West Slopes Hub proposal has been supported by candidates vying to win the federal electorate which covers this area, Eden-Monaro. This will clearly be an election issue in this area,” Mr Hampton concluded.