Australia’s forest industries congratulate the new Minister for Agriculture, Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie and Assistant Minister with responsibility for Forestry and Fisheries, Tasmanian Senator Jonathon Duniam.

Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Ross Hampton said, “Prime Minister Morrison’s new Cabinet demonstrates a mix of seasoned Ministers as well as promotions for some talented backbenchers. In relation to forest industries we are delighted to welcome to these vital roles our first female Minister for Agriculture in Senator McKenzie and new outer Minister Senator Duniam. Both have been vocal champions of forest industries over the years and we are confident they will be strong advocates for the tens of thousands of regional Australians who make a living from growing, harvesting, replanting, hauling, sawmilling and pulp and paper making, not to mention the tens of thousands more who use our timber in house framing and furniture making for example.”

“We are confident Senator McKenzie and Senator Duniam will hit the ground running thanks to the strong work done over the last few years by outgoing Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and Assistant Minister for Fisheries and Forestry Senator Richard Colbeck. Minister Littleproud and Assistant Minister Colbeck last year launched a major growth plan for our national forest industries, pledging a range of measures, to deliver over the next ten years, one billion new trees to provide the vital resource we need to secure forest industry jobs into the future. Our industries thank both Ministers for their hard work and belief in our future.

“Forest Industries have been especially well served by the Assistant Minister who has had direct responsibility for forestry, Senator Richard Colbeck. Senator Colbeck has been one of the most passionate, determined, resolute Ministers in the history of forest industries.

“Australia’s forest industries contribute $24 billion to the economy but we can do so much more.

“The Government made significant announcements during the election campaign which will help us move into a new era of growth, especially as we seek to grow the ‘right trees, in the right places, at the right scale’. Key to this is focusing on the Regional Forest Industry Hubs which have been announced by the Government and working closely with farmers to add some trees to their primary production. AFPA stands ready to work with the Government so that the growth plan can commence immediately, ensuring a win for our regional communities, our farmers and our nation,” Mr Hampton concluded.