Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack, has backed a Regional Forestry Hub in the South West Slopes (Tumut-Tumbarumba region) of southern NSW. In a letter released by the South West Slopes’ Softwoods Working Group (SWG), the Deputy Prime Minister expresses his ‘strong support’ for establishing a Regional Forestry Hub. Source: Timberbiz
He goes on to say there is ‘a compelling case for establishing a hub’ and commends the SWG push for the region to be a ‘pilot hub’.
In the letter Mr McCormack wrote: “I am told the region’s plantation establishment rates are declining and about 30% of its current industrial wood needs are being met from outside the area. The working group believes being part of the Billion Trees program can help reverse this trend.”
The Tumut and Adelong Times has reported the strong support for the idea from the Deputy Prime Minister.
In February, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the launch of nine Regional Forestry Hubs, but said four would happen immediately and five would be delayed until 2020.
Tumut-Tumbarumba is on the list of delayed annoauncements.
“The South West Slopes of NSW is arguably one of the most important forest industry regions in Australia,” Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said.
SWG Chair, Peter Crowe, was also quoted in the Tumut and Adelong Times saying ‘SWG is calling on the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck, to immediately confirm pilot hub status for the South West Slopes of NSW along with funding of $250,000 per annum for four years, to enable the implementation of the National Forest Industries Plan, to proceed in this vitally important region, without further delay’.
“With forest industries adding more than $1 billion annually to regional output and more than 50% of the community employed in forest industries, the South West Slopes Hub proposal has been supported by candidates vying to win the federal electorate which covers this area, Eden-Monaro. This will clearly be an election issue in this area,” Mr Hampton said.