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Northern Australia could be the future of forestry

Mick Stephens

Northern Australia could play a significant role in the future of the nation’s forestry industry, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Minister Canavan was speaking in Cairns at the launch of a $200,000 project funded through the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) to identify the growth potential for northern Australia’s forestry industry. Source: Timberbiz

“This project will provide a road map to stimulate and drive future industry growth,” Minister Canavan said.

“A total of $209,300 will be invested through the CRCNA in a research collaboration with Timber Queensland, the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

“The 10-month project will also work with several key industry stakeholders, including the Forest Products Commission Western Australia, Plantation Management Partners, Midway, HQPlantations, Simms Group, DTM Timber/Branch 95, Quintis Ltd and Alpha Santanol.

“The research will examine issues facing the industry and opportunities for future growth.

“The findings will allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous landholders, stakeholders, investors and policy-makers to make informed decisions regarding developing sustainable forestry enterprises in northern Australia.”

CRCNA CEO Jed Matz said the research will provide a snapshot of the current and emerging issues facing the industry and consider the sustainable management of natural resources and economic, social and environmental development goals.

“It will explore potential policy, investment and other solutions to barriers preventing industry development and will identify the most strategic research projects for further investment, which will be critical to stimulating industry growth.

“The findings will allow indigenous and non-indigenous landholders, stakeholders, investors and policy makers to make informed decisions regarding developing sustainable forestry enterprises in northern Australia,” he said.

Timber Queensland’s CEO Mick Stephens said the project will review key strategic documents and regulatory frameworks in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, and will identify the extent of commercially productive resources including native, plantation and farm forests.

“Once we’ve established this baseline of information, we will seek input from industry players, representatives of indigenous communities and other rural stakeholders, regional business groups, government agencies and academic institutions,” he said.

“A project Steering Committee comprising relevant representatives will be announced in early April and regional forums will be held in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia in June and July,” said Mr Stephens.

It is expected this Steering Committee will assume the role of an Industry Development Alliance and continue to provide oversight regarding the ongoing growth and health of the industry beyond the life of the project.

NT DPIR Director Plant Industries Dr Mila Bristow said the project will help identify challenges and opportunities facing the NT’s forestry operations and development.

“NT DPIR is excited to partner with our forestry industries to determine the sector-wide priorities and better understand how we can support sustainable development in the sector.”

The CRCNA’s northern Australia forest and forest products industry situational analysis project is one of eight industry situational analyses funded by the CRCNA in 2017/18.