Australasia's home for timber news and information

SA inquiry to focus on forestry present and future

Tim Whetstone SA Primary Industries Minister

South Australia’s Liberal Government says that it successfully delivered a positive forestry inquiry despite a negative, divisive approach by the Labor Opposition according to Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone. Source: Timberbiz

“The Shadow Minister did not take seriously the concerns of the sector about the negative wording of the inquiry,” said Minister Whetstone. “The majority of the sector asked for the inquiry to at least investigate ways for the sector to grow into the future. Labor would not listen.

“When talking to this proposed amendment just over two weeks ago, the Shadow Forestry Minister arrogantly said: ‘I think all of those are very worthy points; however, I am not proposing to alter the terms of reference of the committee’

“The Marshall Liberal Government has listened to the sector and after working with the crossbench today, we have delivered a positive forestry inquiry.

“This is not the inquiry as originally proposed by Labor. It is now something the Government can support, which acknowledges the concern of many in the industry.”

Minister Whetstone is referring to a Select Committee of the Legislative Council to be established to enquire into and report on exporting wood fibre and other matters regarding the timber industry in the Limestone Coast of South Australia.  The most notable items:

(e)  A review of water licensing laws applying to forest estates;

(ea) Opportunities to strengthen the forest and timber products industries in the Limestone Coast of South Australia, and in particular:

  1. Barriers to investment in timber resource and processing capacity;
  2. Opportunities to expand the plantation estate, including greater utilisation of farm forestry;

 iii.       Strategies available to timber processing businesses to secure long term timber supply;

  1. Strategies to grow domestic manufacturing;
  2. Opportunities to maximise returns for timber processors from forest and timber residues;

(eb)  Policies in other States to constrain resource for specified markets;

(ec)   The promotion of the economic contribution of the forest and timber products industry to the South Australian community; and

Member for MacKillop Nick McBride said he had spoken with forestry sector representatives who identified concerns with Labor’s negative attitude towards the forestry industry.

“I advocated for a more positive approach because I want a select committee that brings the sector together, not an inquiry that divides the industry.

“Today’s motion was a win for the forestry industry and its future.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is focused on providing a stable investment environment for the forestry sector and is focused on growing the entire sector, including domestic manufacturing.

“Our government has a strong plan for the forestry sector, with the Forest Industry Advisory Council at its centre.

“In contrast, at the last election, when asked by the sector, the Labor Party had no plan for forestry at all.”

The Marshall Liberal Government strongly supports a strong and stable forestry industry which supports nearly 18,000 jobs statewide.

Minister Whetstone also said the Liberal Party Room had confirmed its support for moves by the Morrison Coalition Government to establish a Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into future opportunities for the timber industry if re-elected on Saturday.

“Councils across the South East have written to Liberal Party MPs calling on us to support the proposed Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources inquiry into short-term timber supply chain constraints in the national plantation sector and the South Australian Parliamentary Liberal Party strongly supports this commitment,” said Minister Whetstone.

Minister Whetstone said he had written to the Mayor of the City of Mount Gambier, representing the regions’ councils, to confirm the State Liberal Party’s support for their position in favour of a future-focused Federal Parliamentary inquiry.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is focused on providing a stable investment environment for the forestry sector through working with the Forest Industry Advisory Council SA.  We are committed to growing the entire sector, including domestic manufacturing,” he said.

“We are focused on delivering outcomes on the ground to the sector in the Green Triangle.

“Our government is supportive of a future-focused, industry-building Federal inquiry.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has been working constructively with the Federal Coalition to strengthen the forestry industry and this collaboration has already delivered positive outcomes on the ground in the Green Triangle.”