The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement this week of a $46 million equity injection into the Forestry Corporation of NSW as a first step to aid the State’s forest industries to recover from the recent bushfires and now the Covid- 19 virus.

Forest industries are significant regional employers in NSW, supporting over $7 billion of economic
activity and directly employing over 21,000 people in the State, but with a significant amount of
the softwood plantation assets and sustainably managed native forest estate damaged by the fires
and now the Covid-19 virus there will be long-term impacts on the supply chain, manufacturing
businesses and jobs.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton said, “Our supply chain starts with the planting of
trees, timber is then sustainably harvested and transported to regional manufacturing facilities
and processed into renewable products that store carbon. The recently announced equity injection
for the replanting of burnt trees and forestry infrastructure is a welcome step, and it responds
directly to some of the priority initiatives we’ve urged the NSW Government to deliver,” Mr Hampton
said.

“However, our domestic manufacturing businesses and their jobs are also impacted and will need
ongoing support from Federal and State governments for many years to come.

“Timber workers continue the huge and urgent task of recovering fire damaged timber to be processed
into renewable timber products for Australia’s housing and other markets. The window of opportunity
to effectively recover usable timber from the burnt plantations is only about a year.

“Our industry needs urgent support to address barriers to recovering this timber such as increased
road access, availability of harvest machinery and crews, the capacity of the facilities to keep
employees, process the logs, store the timber and market the products,” Mr Hampton said.

“The replanting effort, the recovery and processing of burnt timber, employment pressures, and the
increased freight costs facing the industry from the recent bushfires and now the Covid-19 virus
are unprecedented.

“We are working with the States and Federal Governments to manage these challenges – we hope to see further announcements to support jobs, our manufacturing businesses, and the massive recovery
effort needed in NSW, Victoria and South Australia,” Mr Hampton concluded.

The original media release can be found here: MEDIA RELEASE – NSW Government support for forest industries a welcome first step