At a national live streamed forest industries debate, hosted by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) in Launceston last night, Senator Richard Colbeck, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, announced that if re-elected, the Coalition would include forestry operations in the Government’s plan to help educate children about agriculture.

Last week Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, announced a $10 million program to fund primary and secondary school visits to farms so Australian children can see how agricultural products make their way from rural areas to the city.

Senator Colbeck stated at the debate last night “I am happy to say you can access [the funding] because you are part of agriculture.”

Chief Executive Officer of AFPA, Mr Ross Hampton said, “We welcome the Government’s commitment from last night’s debate. Public awareness and education are issues that the whole of the agricultural sector is grappling with, and the forest products industry as part of this sector will benefit from the Government’s program.

“This program has the capacity to teach school children that our renewable forest industries are literally growing Australia’s future. That we are good for the environment, for economic activity and can play a vital role in reducing Australia’s emissions.

“We are glad to have bipartisan agreement on this, with Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joel Fitzgibbon, also providing his support at the debate, stating that forestry should be included in agricultural education programs for school children.

“This commitment aligns with AFPA’s 10 Actions for Growth ‘ask’ for a fund to support community education programs on the environmental benefits of choosing products from Australia’s sustainable and renewable forest industries.

“AFPA will be assessing all promises against the goals of our 20,000 jobs growth plan and scoring the Parties before polling day,” Mr Hampton concluded.