Gippsland’s timber industry will benefit from additional support as it recovers from the 2019-20 bushfires, according to the Member for Gippsland Darren Chester. Mr Chester said the industry had been one of the hardest hit over summer and the measures would provide critical support to speed up economic recovery and help secure jobs into the future. Source: Timberbiz
“Our local timber industry is a major employer and contributes significantly to the local economy through its associate businesses,” Mr Chester said.
“Skilled timber workers played a critical role in the bushfire fight and recovery, but have been hit hard with the fallout of the fires.
“The Federal Government supports a sustainable timber and forestry industry and these measures will not only provide support where it is needed right now, but also valuable investment into a stronger and more resilient timber and forestry industry going forward.”
The Forestry Recovery Development Fund will deliver up to $40 million over three years to privately owned wood processing facilities that have been directly and indirectly impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires and will include funding for:
- The upgrade and purchase of new forestry processing equipment
- Transport assistance to move salvaged, burnt logs
- The establishment of mass storage facilities for processed timber products, fire-affected logs and other forestry products
Mr Chester said the funding would assist the industry in bringing in more innovative solutions and becoming more adaptive and resilient.
“This could include upgrading facilities to expand capabilities, improve capacity to process salvaged wood and accommodate fire-affected wood, and upskill employees,” Mr Chester said.
“We have to work together as we continue the recovery effort but I have no doubt we can build back better than ever to become a stronger and more resilient Gippsland.”
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has strongly welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement with Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton saying the support package would go a long way to helping the industry.
“We are pleased that the Federal Government has listened and responded to the crisis facing our industry as a result of the bushfires,” Mr Hampton said.
“The $40 million Forestry Recovery Fund will support timber processors facing significant, long-term reductions in log supply to retool and upgrade their mills, while the $10 million Salvage Log Storage Fund will boost mills’ capacity to process and store the short-term surplus in burnt logs.”
For more information, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/bushfires/forestry-recovery-development-fund
More information on eligibility and accessing the program will be available in the coming weeks.