The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomed the opportunity today to present at the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources Inquiry into Growing Australian Agriculture to $100 billion by 2030, detailing our renewable forest industries capacity to grow and contribute significantly to the Government’s target.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton addressing the hearings in Wagga Wagga.

CEO of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “Forest industries are one of Australia’s largest agricultural sectors with an annual turnover of $24 billion, directly employing 80,000 people across the value chain with a further 100,000 employed indirectly.”

“We welcome our sector’s involvement in meeting the $100 billion Government target and with this, recognition that we are an integral part of the Australian agricultural landscape.”

“We applaud this Morrison/McCormack Federal government initiative, which builds on the National Farmer’s Federation’s equivalent goal.”

“Our forest industries have the potential to grow in value across all sectors of the supply chain, both before the ‘farm gate’ and further downstream, and research and development (R&D) innovation and investment is the key.”

“Like grapes grown for wine, or cattle for premium cuts, enormous value is added in downstream processes. This is a similar pattern in relation to fibre from our renewable native forests and plantations.”

“Nowhere is this opportunity greater than our forest industries, where innovation is creating new uses for wood fibre that were never thought possible, including, for example, the replacement of petrochemicals with bio-based alternatives in things such as solvents and plastics.”

“This vital point is captured by the important 2019 ACIL ALLEN report titled ‘Agriculture a $100B sector by 2030?’, which identified one of the most important growth opportunity for the agriculture sector as ‘off farm R&D’.”

“Developing new uses for products helps to diversify the agricultural sector, compete internationally and address uncertainty. Value adding is a significant contributor to the sector,” Mr Hampton concluded.