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Federal funding of $26m to forestry for NIFPI, R&D and illegal timber study

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton, Federal MP for Bass Bridget Archer MP – Liberal Member for Bass, University of Tasmania Vice Chancellor Rufus Black and Federal Assistant Minister for Forestry Senator Jonathon Duniam

Australia’s forestry sector has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $26.2 million in funding for forestry with both the Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) and the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) issuing statements to that effect. Funding will assist in a variety of critical areas including R&D. Source: Timberbiz

The $26.2 million in funding measures was announced yesterday by Minister for Agriculture, the Hon David Littleproud MP and Senator Jonno Duniam to support innovation in the forest and wood products sector.

Senator Duniam announced:

  • $3.1 million over two years to extend the regional National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) Centres in Launceston, Mount Gambier, and Gippsland.
  • $3.8 million over 3 years from 2022 for matching funding for R&D under the Growers Levy.
  • $900,000 over two years to deliver a series of studies to assess our exposure to illegally logged timber.

The funding includes an extension of the National Institutes for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) based in Gippsland and Mount Gambier along with increased funding to match additional levy funding from industry for Forest and Wood Products Australia.

“Our forest industries strongly support research through their own investment and the increased Federal Government funding across production, processing and value-adding to support the future of our industry is most welcome,” said Deb Kerr CEO VFPA.

Additional funds will target illegally logged timber from overseas, with $900,000 invested in studies to evaluate Australia’s exposure to illegally procured timber.

“The wood products sector in Victoria works hard to comply with Australia’s very high standards of sustainability, responsible harvesting and regeneration while minimising the impact on our environment and wildlife. Importing cheap but illegally logged, unsustainable timber from overseas is detrimental to those efforts – we’re glad the government is committed to calling it out while supporting our local, sustainable products,” Ms Kerr concluded.

AFPA welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of more than $7 million in forest industries research and development, as momentum builds for a Launceston-based National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) that will turbocharge advanced manufacturing opportunities for Australia’s renewable timber and wood products sector.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonno Duniam, made the announcement last night at the launch of the AFPA and University of Tasmania’s proposal for a Launceston-based centre for forest industries innovation.

“Global demand for wood fibre is forecast to triple over the next 30 years as Australia and the world commit to achieving net zero emissions, and Australia is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of this global shift to renewable, low-emission products,” AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said.

“This investment in forest industries R&D highlights the Federal Government’s recognition of the potential of Australia’s sustainable forest industries to drive innovation and job creation in Australia.”

Assistant Minister Duniam made the announcement at the AFPA and University of Tasmania’s launch of their joint proposal for a Launceston-based National Institute for Forest Products Innovation. This is an ambitious vision for forest products innovation, that could position Australia as a leader in sustainable, low-emission industries and support a world scale forest industries research and development powerhouse.

The launch was well attended by local, State and Federal Government representatives in a strong show of bipartisan support for the proposal. Member for Bass Bridget Archer and Tasmanian Minister for Resources Guy Barnett also spoke in support of a Launceston-based NIFPI.

Under the proposal, the industry co-funded NIFPI would be headquartered at the University’s Newnham campus in Launceston and work with existing research networks around Australia to spearhead the development of clean, green, and renewable wood-based products of the future.

To establish NIFPI Australia AFPA and the University of Tasmania are calling for Federal Government investment of $100 million over four years, unlocking a further $100 million in industry contributions.

Ross Hampton said momentum for the NIFPI had grown considerably since the proposal was first unveiled in June this year.

“The move to more sustainable, renewable building materials, paper and packaging solutions, and bioproducts will require technology-driven solutions that will open up new opportunities for our renewable forest industries, which will create exciting new clean, green jobs in Australia.

“Last night’s announcement of almost $7 million in new Government funding for forest industries R&D is a vital down payment on our sector that will ensure that we do not lose the momentum of our successful ‘pilot’ NIFPI sites in Launceston, Mt Gambier, and Gippsland, which have proven our sector’s willingness and capacity to co-invest in its future and to collaborate with universities and the research sector.

“We commend Assistant Minister Duniam for backing our industry and we look forward to the outcome of the recent feasibility study into a national NIFPI,” Ross Hampton concluded.