The time is now right for the Coalition Government to reform the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to prevent environmental and other activists from targeting Australian companies who provide services and work for other businesses involved in forestry, resource and other primary industries.
Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association Ross Hampton said he welcomed the comments reported today by the Prime Minister that he understood the challenges posed by extreme environmental activists targeting lawful, legitimate businesses who employed hundreds of thousands of Australians, many in regional and rural Australia.
“Forest industries across Australia have been the subject of secondary protest activity by environmental activists for many, many years and while we have no desire to prevent or stop lawful protests, some protection must be given to legitimate businesses who are targeted by these extreme activists,” Mr Hampton said.
“By undertaking simple reform of Section 45DD Competition and Consumer Act 2010, we could help prevent innocent businesses from being targeted by environmental activists even though these companies are simply going about their business.
“The forest industry welcomes robust policy debate and peaceful, lawful protests but when protest actions are hurting innocent Australian businesses, we can’t afford to stand by and let this happen.”
Australia has 132 million hectares of native or natural forest. Of that, less than 0.06% is harvested each year and always regenerated ensuring an industry so sustainable it can continue indefinitely.
The Australian forest industry is worth around $24 billion to the economy and employs about 80,000 people, the majority in regional and rural Australia.