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Minister backs forestry’s role in climate change and bio-circular economy

Federal Minister for Forestry Senator Murray Watt has talked up the key role Australia’s sustainable forestry management including regrowth native forests and plantations will play addressing climate change.

Federal Minister for Forestry Senator Murray Watt has talked up the key role Australia’s sustainable forestry management, including regrowth native forests and plantations, will play addressing climate change, while also marking the importance of sustainable forestry for green construction and the emerging bio-circular economy – during a speech to the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission Marketplace, co-hosted by the Australian Forest Products Association in Sydney this week. Source: Timberbiz

“AFPA partnered with the Australian Government to co-host a Marketplace event which provided delegates from across the Asia-Pacific region an opportunity to network and engage with Australia’s industry representatives at the 30th APFC Session – fittingly themed Sustainable Forests for a Sustainable Future. AFPA thanks Minister Watt for his involvement at the Marketplace and continued strong support for Australia’s sustainable forestry and forest products sector,” Acting AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Natasa Sikman said today.

During his address, Senator Watt remarked on the sequestration power of Australia’s sustainably managed forests.

“Australia has a total of 134 million hectares of forests with 87 percent of that harvested from softwood and hardwood plantation estates. Our native forests continue to play an important role in meeting our nation’s timber needs, as well as supporting our carbon sequestration aims,” Senator Watt said.

“Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory reported that overall production of native forests contributed a net carbon sink of 39 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2020, with sequestration from regrowth exceeding emissions from harvesting.

The Government is delivering a record $300m in measures to the forestry sector that will support the expansion of the plantation estate, modernising our timber manufacturing and build forestry workforce skills.”

Senator Watts aid that these measures included accelerating innovation in wood processing, supporting the establishment of 36,000 hectares of new plantations and the development of National Institute for Forest Products Innovation.

“We’re investing in a Forestry Workforce Training Program and improving our surveillance to combat illegally logged imports through timber testing and e-declarations,” he said.

“We have also committed to reviewing and updating, with our states and territory colleagues, the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement to ensure it is contemporary and fit for purpose.”

Ms Sikman thanked Senator Watt for recognising this important science, backed up by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Senator Watt also recognised the enormous potential of sustainable forestry for green construction and the emerging bio-circular economy as reasons behind Australia’s leading involvement in the Forests and Climate Leaders Partnership.

“Australia’s sustainably managed native and plantation forestry and the products that Australians love to use every day are an important part of the solution for Australia to meet its net-zero climate goals. We are already seeing the positive impact of transitioning to a low carbon circular bioeconomy, from mass timber buildings reducing emissions by up to 40 per cent, to displacing harmful plastics are playing in Australia’s society. But to have a greater impact, collectively governments and industry need to do more, and this was a key point made by conference delegates,” she said.

“AFPA on behalf of our Sector and the wonderful people who work across the entire supply chain we thank Minister Watt for his support at this week’s APFC and continued support for Australia’s forest products sector,” Ms Sikman said.