Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, welcomed today’s release of a Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) paper that maps out priorities and goals for the future of the Australian forest industry.
Minister Ruston said that she would carefully consider the recommendations of the FIAC report in consultation with other relevant state and territory counterparts and industry stakeholders.
“The forest industry is vital to our regional communities, with its direct value to Australia's gross domestic product having risen 10 per cent to $7.7 billion between 2012/13 and 2013/14, and it’s an industry that employs 64,300 people, mainly in regional Australia,” Minister Ruston said.
“Our forests provide significant economic and environmental benefits to all Australians—so we need a clear plan for how we manage our forests into the future to capitalise on the opportunities before us.
“The FIAC paper looks to the future with its vision: 'the forest industry will lead the transition to a bio economy of which Australians can be proud.' The report also lays out three objectives, eight strategies and 19 recommendations to industry and government to achieve this vision.
“It looks at the industry’s goals and objectives out to 2050, and the Coalition will now carefully consider FIAC’s recommendations.”
Minister Ruston congratulated FIAC in preparing and driving this national plan.
“FIAC has done an outstanding job in preparing and presenting this work,” Minister Ruston said.
“They consulted widely and stimulated discussion and ideas from industry, government and key stakeholders, and their issues paper received almost 80 submissions.
“While there will be a role for government to play in assisting industry in positioning itself for a vibrant future, ultimately the industry must work together to achieve the vision for Australia’s forest industry—and FIAC has been critical in bridging the gap between industry and government.
“The Coalition's objective is to create a stable, sustainable business environment that encourages innovation and investment in the future of this carbon-positive industry.
“We are achieving that by investing $4 million in the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, continuing our commitment to rolling 20 year Regional Forest Agreements, making funds available for research and development, implementing our three-year $15 million Bushfire Mitigation Program and working to combat illegal logging at home and abroad.”