The Australian Forest products Association (AFPA) has paid tribute to the Federal Member for Hunter, Hon Joel Fitzgibbon, who has announced he will not recontest the next election.

The Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “For many years Joel has been a champion of Australia’s forest industries. Holding the Forestry portfolio during his career, he spearheaded Labor’s strong forestry policies at the last Federal Election.

“Joel has importantly also provided bipartisan support for our sustainable native forest industries, at odds with what we’ve seen with Labor governments in Victoria and WA – recognising its importance to the economy and the fact that plantation forestry cannot offset the loss of our native resource.

“Furthermore, Joel has dedicated his time in Parliament to co-convening the Federal Parliamentary Friends of Forest Industries group, alongside Liberal Member for Barker Tony Pasin.

“Through this office Joel has helped us educate and inform Federal Parliament of the sustainable nature of forestry in Australia and the vital role forest products play in our everyday lives, from hardwood flooring and softwood building framing, through to packaging for our food and pallets, to get the food into the supermarkets.

“Forest products are carbon storing and as long as trees are replanted after harvest, as we do in Australia, that can continue indefinitely. Timber and wood fibre is ‘the ultimate renewable’ and Joel has been a strong advocate in the Federal Parliament.

“Serving as Member for Hunter since 1996, Joel has always listened to the science on the sustainability of our industries, and we thank him for that. Forest industries wish Joel all the best in future endeavours,” Mr Hampton concluded.

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