The Federal Election can’t be that far away. It seems the only thing left is to decide the date.
All we know is that it will be after the Federal Budget is handed down on March 29.
While the election campaign proper is yet to be announced, the wish lists are starting to pile up.
The Australian Forest Products Association kicked things off in Tasmania with the most reasonable of requests. The AFPA simply wants all sides of federal politics to outline their plans to support the timber industries ahead of the upcoming Federal Election.
The demand is both polite and logical.
The platform calls for a bipartisan commitment to meet the need for one billion more plantation trees by 2030. The AFPA welcomed the $86 million forestry cash-for-grants scheme unveiled by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Launceston recently, but Mr Hampton also cautioned that more policies would need to be brought in if the one-billion-tree target is likely to be met.
Obtaining a bipartisan commitment might not be as difficult as it sounds when it comes to the two major parties; both the Government and the Opposition have expressed their support for the timber industry as a whole, including the native timber industry.
But in the current political climate, and as election day draws near, independents are going to play a major part in the result. And of course, the Greens’ stance on the timber industry – in particular the native timber industry – is well known.
So don’t expect any bi-partisanship there.
The National Farmers’ Federation’s wish list is even grander. It has identified 20 regional centres, such as the key forestry precincts of the Green Triangle and the Gippsland Region, as targets for regional renewal.
And the NFF wants more than $1.4 billion in new investment to secure a bright future for those regional centres and to provide a blueprint for regional renewal.
The proposal puts the onus on National Cabinet to establish a framework, including local government, to develop a plan for 20 Regional Development Precincts.
However, the NFF concedes that a government-led strategy to deliver for growing populations and to guarantee the regions’ vibrant future remains elusive.
Pipe dreams? Maybe, but it is a starting point.
As that unknown election date draws near, watch for the pile of wish lists grow.
Because among them there are certain to be some truly decent proposals.