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Albanese government to deliver $300M for forestry with new ministry

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Murray Watt

Australia’s forest industries welcome the new Albanese Government Ministry that was sworn in with a mandate to turbocharge the nation’s One Billion Trees goal to tackle climate change and secure Australia’s future timber and fibre needs. Source: Timberbiz

Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said Australia’s renewable forest industries looked forward to working with the Albanese Government to implement an ambitious forestry policy agenda Labor took to the election to deliver more than $300 million in new investment to grow and innovate the sector.

“The Albanese Government was elected with a mandate to turbocharge Australia’s goal to plant one billion timber plantation trees by 2030 in order to boost domestic timber supply and harness the climate change mitigation opportunities our industries offer,” Mr Hampton said.

“AFPA congratulates the new Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Murray Watt, who has been a passionate advocate for regional Australia and primary industries in his previous role of Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, and we look forward to working with Minister Watt on implementing these important initiatives.”

Senator Watt was a solicitor before entering the Queensland public service where he worked as chief of staff to Premier Anna Bligh from 2002 to 2007.

In 2009 he was elected to the Queensland Parliament representing the seat of Everton, before losing the seat in 2012.

He entered Federal Politics when he was elected to the Senate for Queensland in 2016.

He served as Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Disaster and Emergency Management and Queensland Resources in Opposition.

Senator Watt also participated in Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee inquiries in 2019 and 2020.

“Other key Ministers we look forward to working with include Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen, Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic, Minister for Housing and Homelessness Julie Collins, and Minister for Regional Development Kristy McBain, who has been a strong advocate for forest industries in her electorate of Eden Monaro,” Mr Hampton said.

During the election campaign, Federal Labor matched the Coalition’s pledge to deliver:

  • $100 million for a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) to be headquartered in Launceston
  • $86 million in grants to support the establishment costs of new timber plantations
  • $112.9 million in innovation grants for timber processors to make the most of our existing resource and create new manufacturing jobs.

“On top of this, Labor also committed $10 million for skills and training programs for our sector and backed native forestry jobs with a commitment to no more forest lock-ups. We look forward to working with the Albanese Government to realise the full potential of Australia’s renewable forest industries.

“We would also like to thank the former Shadow Minister for Agriculture Julie Collins for her leadership in the portfolio, and we are pleased that she will retain a key interest in the timber and forestry sector in her new role of Housing Minister,” Mr Hampton said.