Balancing forests, jobs The Age

OPINION EDITORIAL: Originally published in The Age.

Of the 125 million hectares of native forests in Australia, only 7.5 million hectares remain available in “multiple use management zones”, which includes forestry (“Take the natural way”, Opinion, 24/7). In any year, harvesting takes place in less than 0.5 per cent of that 7.5 million hectares. We now have only 200 hardwood sawmills, where we once had almost 900.

Green groups stress that we must rely more on renewable, recyclable and sustainable resources – like timber – and that we must obtain them from places where there is no deforestation. Like Australia. Between sustainably managed native forests and plantations, our industries re-sow or replant about 60 million trees a year. Australians care about the environment. They also care about their children having real jobs in the regions. Not everyone wants to be a barista.

Ross Hampton,

Chief Executive Officer, Australian Forest Products Association