Joint Media Release: Tasmania confirms status as national forest innovation leader

Tasmania’s status as a national leader in forestry practices and innovation has been further cemented with the official launch of a new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation hub in Launceston today.

The Institute is backed by $4 million funding from the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, which will be matched by industry contributions. It will be hosted by the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Tasmania’s Launceston campus and led by a panel of industry experts.

Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Senator Anne Ruston, said the new national institute will play a vital role in fostering collaboration, supporting cutting edge research, boosting innovation, maintaining jobs and securing Tasmania’s place as the centre for research into hardwood forestry in Australia.

“The institute will ensure the use of Tasmania’s sustainably managed wood production provides the highest possible return to the local economy and creates new local jobs, as well as developing new ideas and innovations that can be applied more widely,” Minister Ruston said.

Tasmania’s Minister for Resources, Guy Barnett, said the island state had a long history of forest products innovation dating back to the development of the hardwood pulp and paper industry in the 1920s.

“By making the most of local knowledge and our long-established and widely-recognised research and innovation capacity, the institute can build on this outstanding history to once again make us a world-leader in the next generation of wood products,” Minister Barnett said.

An industry-driven regional committee has been established as part of the new institute to determine priority research projects for the forest and wood products industry.

Industry members of the committee are Shawn Britton, Tom Fisk, Suzette Weeding, Andrew Jacobs, James Neville Smith, Des Richardson and Les Walkden.  The committee will also include Dr Libby Pinkard from the CSIRO, Professor Mark Hunt from the University of Tasmania, and representatives of the Australian and Tasmanian Governments.

Fast Facts:

  • Minister Ruston and Minister Barnett officially opened the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation hub in Launceston today.
  • More than 3650 people were employed (monthly average) in forest harvest, processing and manufacturing in Tasmania in 2016.
  • ABARES Australian forest and wood products statistics: March and June quarters 2017 released on 7 November 2017 shows the forestry industry is now in its fourth consecutive year of growth. Exports of Australia’s wood products reached a record $3.4 billion.
  • The volume of logs harvested is estimated to have reached record levels, increasing by 9 per cent to nearly 33 million cubic metres.
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