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$15m in freight support for burnt timber

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the inclusion of $15 million in freight support for burnt timber, as part of the National Bushfire Industry Recovery Package announced today but urges more is needed to help the industry recover. Source: Timberbiz

In announcing the industry assistance, the Assistant Minister responsible for Forestry Senator Jonathon Duniam said that it will help ensure the industry can source the timber it needs for operations and to support jobs.

“There is more work to be done to ensure this critical sector has a strong future, and we are committed to supporting the industry to find opportunities that ensure it is well positioned for long-term recovery,” Senator Duniam said

The assistance will be targeted at the worst hit regions in New South Wales and Victoria, with funding to be available from July for one year.

The forest industry in New South Wales was devastated by the bushfires, with around 24 per cent of its commercial plantations and 47 per cent of its productive public native forest damaged by fires, with Tumut and Tumbarumba particularly hard hit.

Victoria’s forestry industry was also devastated, particularly in the North East and East Gippsland regions, with the fire burning 2.4% of its commercial plantations and 29% of its productive public native forest.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said that with this announcement the Morrison Government had signalled that renewable forest product industries and regional communities are priorities.

“Clearly the products we manufacture, and the associated jobs, are essential as the economy reels from the shock of the pandemic lockdowns,” Mr Hampton said.

“The bushfires have had a devastating impact on all sectors of our industry; from forest growers to harvest contractors to hardwood and softwood timber and paper products processing and manufacturing,” he said.

“In many areas forest and fibre industries are the major economic driver and many thousands of regional workers rely on them thriving for their long-term future.”