The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has called on the Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes to withdraw her comment in State Parliament that “COVID-19 has led to a drop in demand for native timber products”.
The Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “The Victorian Andrews Government has chosen to close down a sustainable, job creating industry for ideological reasons. It has the right to do this, but Victorians also have the right to oppose it and seek its reversal. What the Andrews Government must not do is use misinformation, like claiming a drop in demand, to justify its decision.”
“It is a decision that is bad for the environment, as it will likely increase deforestation in those countries which do not manage forests sustainably like Victoria. It is also bad for regional communities and outer metro timber working jobs. It’s bad for bushfire mitigation, as thousands of men women and fire fighting machines will leave the bush and regional country towns.
“The facts are that timber demand has never been stronger* and, as the world moves away from plastics and carbon intensive building products, that demand is only forecast to grow. The hardwoods from Victorian forests, which are used at the rate of 4 trees in every 10,000 (and each trees used is replaced through reseeding and regeneration) are sought by architects and home builders for appearance grade timbers, like the panelling which graces the whole interior of the Victorian parliamentary annex. Plantation timber does not produce these timbers in Victoria.”
“Reversing the native forestry closure decision is the right thing to do when every Victorian job matters,” Mr Hampton concluded.
*ABARES Forest and Wood Product statistics show an annual increase in consumption.
Sawnwood and Veneer 2015-16: 2,404m3 2016-17:2,685m3 2017-18: 3,007m3