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Tassie MP Julie Collins given forestry portfolio

Julie Collins MP

Tasmanian MP Julie Collins has been appointed Shadow Agriculture Minister in a reshuffle of Labor’s front bench. Ms Collins was taken from the aged services portfolio to agriculture which includes the forestry portfolio. Source: Timberbiz

She replaces Ed Husic who was appointed in November last year to replace Joel Fitzgibbon.

Ms Collins said she looked forward to representing a sector that was a critical part of the national economy.

“I will bring with me to this role the spirit and ingenuity of the incredible producers in my own backyard who export Tasmania’s world-class products across the country and around the globe,” she said.

“The agriculture industry supports thousands of jobs in regional Australia, including so many in my electorate and home state.

“With produce being left to rot on farms across the country because of labour shortages the task of keeping the Morrison Government accountable is a significant responsibility.”

Tasmanian Liberal senator and Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonothan Duniam said the appointment would be a major test for Ms Collins.

The Australian Forest Products Association Deputy CEO Victor Violante said Ms Collins brought an understanding of the importance of the forestry sector to the national economy and to her home state of Tasmania.

“As a Tasmanian MP representing an electorate where forestry is a major industry, I have no doubt Ms Collins understands its importance,” Mr Violante said.

“AFPA has a positive working relationship with the Federal Labor Party and its MPs and Senators, and I have no doubt this will continue with Ms Collins in this important role.”

Mr Violante said he looked forward to meeting with Ms Collins soon to brief her on the opportunities and challenges facing Australia’s forest products industries and the 180,000 workers across its full value chain.

“Like many industries, last year was challenging for forestry, with the Black Summer bushfires, the impact of COVID-19 on the housing market and other commodities, and the ongoing trade tensions with China,” Mr Violante said.

“I am confident that Ms Collins is well placed to build on the Federal Labor Party’s pro-forestry platform that has led to bipartisanship on key issues ranging from the Regional Forest Agreements, to allowing plantations to participate in the carbon market.”

Mr Violante also acknowledged the work done by outgoing agriculture spokesperson Ed Husic and congratulated him on his appointment as Shadow Minister for Innovation and Industry.

“Mr Husic visited several forest industry regions in recent months and saw first-hand some of the modern, innovative timber processing operations that we have in Australia, and I look forward to continuing to work with Mr Husic in his new role,” Mr Violante said.