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NSW has a new minister for forestry

Courtney Houssos

Courtney Houssos has been named New South Wales’ new Minister for Finance and Natural Resources, which includes responsibility for forest industries. It follows the ALP’s win in the State election on 25 March. Source: Timberbiz

Ms Houssos has been a Labor member of the NSW Legislative Council since the 2015 state election.

She was promoted to the NSW front bench for the first time by Mr Minns in June 2021, along with fellow Greek-Australian politician and Member for Rockdale, Steve Kamper.

She was previously the Shadow Minister for Better Regulation and Innovations in the NSW shadow cabinet.

Ms Houssos was born in Forster, NSW, and studied for a Bachelor of Arts in international relations at the University of NSW where she met her future husband prominent Labor figure George Houssos.

Ms Houssos worked constructively with the timber and forestry sector as Shadow Minister for Natural Resources to understand the issues and opportunities facing the state’s hardwood and softwood industries, and committed a NSW Labor Government to several actions to address them.

At the recent state election NSW Labor committed to “immediately begin work on how to expand existing plantation estates across NSW” with industry on a potential statewide timber encouragement procurement policy and boost the role of renewable wood fibre in the circular economy.

AFPA NSW said in a statement that it looks forward to continuing to work with Ms Houssos on addressing some of the pressing challenges facing NSW forest industries. NSW needs to significantly grow its timber and wood fibre supply to meet future housing construction and paper packaging demand, and securing our sovereign capability in these essential products should be a priority for the new NSW Government.

AFPA NSW also needs to work closely with the Minns Government on the delivery of NSW Labor’s election committed to create “a Great Koala National Park”, which had the potential to impact on timber jobs and on the supply of essential timber products.

AFPA said that NSW Labor had committed to work with the timber industry and to do due diligence on the implementation of the Great Koala National Park. It urges the Minns Government to listen to the science, which shows that the state’s sustainable, regenerative native forestry operations have no impact on koala numbers while contributing $2.9 billion annually to the state economy.