The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has commended the National Farmers Federation (NFF) on its Regionalisation Agenda paper, which highlights the potential for Australia’s $24 billion forest industries to play a key role in a boom for regional Australia.

The discussion paper calls on policy makers to look at the best way of getting people out of cities and into the regions, and turbocharging their manufacturing sectors through innovation and value-adding.

The Chief Executive of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of Australia being more self-sufficient. The Regionalisation Agenda shows Australia is uniquely placed to drive innovation and value-adding in our food and fibre sectors and that forestry is well-placed to be at the forefront of this. We are already Australia’s sixth largest manufacturing sector, and there is record global demand for renewable wood products and fibre.”

“The discussion paper includes a case study on forest industries, highlighting the value-adding potential if we processed more of the low-quality logs onshore currently being exported. With the right policy settings, forest industries can play a key role in boosting regionalisation by fast-tracking emerging, industries like engineered timber for mid to hi-rise timber buildings, and bio-materials to replace plastics.”

“Our sustainably managed forest industries directly employ over 80 thousand people nationally, and a further 100,000 indirectly. We could increase this significantly and contribute to the NFF’s ambitious agenda,” Mr Hampton concluded.

The report can be downloaded here: Regionalisation Agenda Discussion Paper

The original media release is here: Media Release – NFF Regionalisation agenda shows potential for forest industries to deliver more jobs for rural Australia