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Time for the Government to invest in forestry

IT’S TIME for the Australian Government to invest in forest industry infrastructure
The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) is calling on the Federal Government to urgently provide forest industry-related infrastructure to secure the economic and social future of rural and regional Australia before the economy is engulfed by the looming international recession.
“Forest industry-related infrastructure is urgently needed in the key plantation resource areas of Northern Tasmania, Green Triangle in Victoria and South Australia, South-west Western Australia, infrastructure to facilitate industry investment in Indigenous plantation forestry is also a prerequisite for ongoing investment in Northern Australian regions such as the Tiwi Islands and North Queensland,” said NAFI chief executive officer Allan Hansard.
“Unlike other sectors, the forest industry isn’t asking for a hand-out from the Federal Government; instead, forestry is asking for the appropriate Government support and regulatory frameworks to ensure the growth of the industry.
“NAFI has produced a development strategy for the forest industry which, with the appropriate Government support will deliver significant triple bottom line – social, economic and environmental – benefits to all Australians, much of which will be in regional areas. By the year 2020 forest industries are projected to contribute 16,000 new jobs; 81 million tonnes of carbon abatement each year and $19 billion in new investment.
“A supportive Government policy framework is critical to ensure that the significant economic, environmental and employment growth potential of the forest industry can be realised. This will require committed support from Governments at all levels to forest industry investment in downstream value-adding technology and facilities; streamlining the approvals process and providing a stable and attractive investment environment; and adequate provision of Government funding (Local, State and Federal) to support infrastructure development needs in forestry regions,” Hansard said.