Media Release: Record exports, log harvest the highlights of a great year in forestry

Record wood product exports worth $3.4 billion and a record log harvest of 33 million cubic metres valued at $2.5 billion were the highlights of a great year for Australia’s forestry sector in 2016-17.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the latest publication of forestry statistics by ABARES showed the industry was growing strongly to the benefit of its 67,000 workers, and the mostly regional communities in which they operated.

“These figures are great news for the forestry sector,” Minister Ruston said. “They’re a tribute to the forward thinking of a highly innovative industry which is both driving and responding to international and domestic demand.

“This growth needs to be skilfully managed to maximise its benefits, particularly for regional areas, and to ensure it is sustainable from all perspectives. This is why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has committed the Australian Government to developing a plan underpinning further growth in the industry.

“As Mr Turnbull noted at this announcement earlier in the year, we see forestry as a ‘growth engine’ for regional Australia and we consider Australia should be an international forestry powerhouse.

“Our aim is to provide vision and certainty for the industry as it moves towards these goals.”

For a copy of the ABARES report Australian forest and wood products statistics: March and June quarters 2017 visit

Fast facts:

  • The report showed Australian wood product exports had grown in value to $3.4 million in 2016-17; the volume of logs harvested increased by an estimated 9% to 33 million cubic metres; and the value of total logs harvested increased by almost 12% to $2.5 billion.
  • The forest industry employed 67,000 people in 2016–17, mainly in regional Australia.
  • The direct value to Australia's GDP was $8.6 billion in 2015–16.
  • Australia’s trade deficit in wood products is now under $2 billion for the first time in six years.
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