With the Braddon by-election a done deal for Labor’s Justine Keay, but a tight win for the candidate it is fitting to show Labor’s responses to the questions put by AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton in the preceding weeks. Source: Timberbiz
This is what the Labor party said with respect to its view on forestry:
A future Labor Government will restore proper Commonwealth and State relationships by re-establishing the COAG process. Sadly, one of the first acts of the former Agriculture Minister was to abolish the Standing Council on Primary Industries.
Labor will prioritise the development of a robust productivity agenda and ensure that is progressed in a partnership between Commonwealth and State bodies.
A future Labor Government will ensure that forestry sector policies are development via a whole-of- government and whole-of-government’s approach to ensure it reaches its full potential. Many of the AFPA asks demonstrate that forestry policies cut across a number of portfolios and jurisdictions.
Labor has been working closely with the forestry sector to understand the barriers preventing it reaching its full potential. We agree with the statement from the AFPA Chair, Mr Greg McCormack that “With the right policy settings our Forest Industries can have an even brighter future.”
A key ask from the forestry sector is a review of both the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Regulation the removal of the 600mm rainfall restriction for new plantations. Another is a review the existing ERF farm forestry method to encourage aggregation, reduce audit and transaction costs, and remove the rainfall restriction, which limits farm forestry to 100ha where rainfall is of 400mm or more.
A future Labor Government will review the water rule restrictions in both the plantations and farm forestry Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies to ensure the forestry sector can compete on a level playing field and to play a bigger role in a lower carbon future.
Labor recognises the role of bio-energy and bio-mass in Australia’s renewable mix and will work with the forestry industry to ensure bioenergy plays its rightful and responsible role in Australia’s future renewable energy economy.
Towards a National Forest Industries Plan, Key Industry Asks;
Labor recognises industry is seeking to grow new plantation levels by an additional 400,000ha; removing barriers to forestry’s participation in the carbon market will stimulate greater investment in the sector and grow future forestry jobs.
However, new plantation establishment will be a means to an end and not an ends in itself under a Labor government.
A more strategic policy approach than exhibited in the past will result in the encouragement and stimulation of the planting of more of the right trees (from a species perspective), in the right places and locales, under the right management regimes necessary in order to maximise the benefits to local communities.
Labor supports the social, economic and environmental benefits that flow from the sustainable management of our native forests and supports the Regional Forest Agreement (RFA). The Tasmanian RFA extension was formalised on 18 August 2017
Labor has announced a number of policies to support increase in; investment, manufacturing innovation, skills and training and infrastructure projects, these policies will benefit the forestry industry
TAFE and Vocational Education
• Scrapping upfront fees for TAFE students: Labor will scrap upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students who choose to learn the skills that Australia needs, making it easier for Australians to gain the skills they need to get a quality job and for businesses to fill skills shortages.
• Reversing TAFE/Training cuts: Labor will reverse the government’s $600 million TAFE/Training cuts.
• Building TAFE for the Future Fund: Labor will commit $100 million towards a new Building TAFE for the Future Fund, to reverse the decline in TAFE facilities, and revitalise TAFE campuses across Australia.
• TAFE Funding: Labor will ensure two thirds of Commonwealth funding for vocational education goes to TAFE, securing the future of TAFE across the country.
• Australian Skills Authority: Labor will establish an independent Australian Skills Authority to advise on skills shortages and we will prioritise training investment in skills shortage areas identified by the Authority.
Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund:
Labor will establish a $1 billion advanced manufacturing future fund to provide concessional loans to manufacturers seeking to innovate, expand or diversify. The Fund will be available to manufacturers along the forestry supply chain.
Treasury Australian Investment Guarantee: Labor’s Australian Investment Guarantee will allow all businesses in Australia to immediately deduct 20% of any new eligible asset worth more than $20,000, with the balance depreciated in line with normal depreciation schedules from the first year.
Infrastructure North West Coast Pathway (Tas):
Labor will invest in Tasmanian tourism and jobs, providing $8.8 million in funding towards the completion of the 110km North West Coastal Pathway.
Bridgewater Bridge (Tas):
Labor will restore the $100 million cut by the Turnbull Liberal Government from the Midland Highway upgrade, and use the funding as a down-payment to build a replacement to the outdated Bridgewater Bridge. Bass Highway upgrade between Wynyard and Marrawah (Tas): Labor will partner with the Tasmanian Government to spend $100m ($60m commonwealth, $40m state) on fixing the Bass Highway.