The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed a call from the NSW Opposition for any federal and state sponsored building stimulus packages to focus on Australian grown and processed timber products.

In a statement today, the NSW Shadow Natural Resources Minister, the Hon Paul Scully called for a range of measures to support timber industries including an “emphasis on using local timber products”.

The Chief Executive of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “Building construction approvals are showing all the signs of heading off a cliff in coming months as immigration dries up and the new home sales pipeline empties. Already softwood sawmills around Australia are forecasting a 50 per cent drop in demand for sawn timber by Christmas. There are some 45,000 regional Australians who work in our mills and associated areas and many of these jobs will be at risk if nothing is done.”

“The federal government has flagged that a building stimulus package is on the cards and that is extremely welcome. Mr Scully’s message today must also be listened to. If the stimulus package does not include caveats which drive local production of timber, bricks, glass, windows etc, it will keep tradies busy but not the suppliers. This is not a call for long term protectionism, but rather a request for a carefully designed policy response which hits all its goals.”

“All nations have been impacted by the pandemic and many competitor countries are looking at Australia as a place to send products to prop up their own jobs.”

“The fast and clear health action by the Morrison Government in shutting down the economy saved thousands of lives. An equally clear and sure-footed policy rollout by all Governments, with an unashamed focus on buying Australian, is now needed to save livelihoods,” Mr Hampton concluded.