This piece was written and provided by AFPA
As the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) started on ground campaigning ahead of the Federal Election in Tasmania this week, the Coalition Government opened the batting on political commitments for forest industries with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing $86 million for plantation expansion.
AFPA and MBA recently released a report that Australia will be 250,000 house frames short by 2035 if governments don’t grow the plantation estate and strengthen sovereign capability.
Under the plan the Government will commit 40 per cent of half the costs towards much needed new tree plantings with state governments to cover 60 per cent, while industry would cover the other half.
AFPA CEO Ross Hampton joined Prime Minister Morrison for the announcement in northern Tasmania on Monday, welcoming the commitment as an excellent start for what forest industries require to meet future timber demand and ensure a reliable supply of resource for timber processors.
“AFPA has been calling for urgent action by all levels of Government to address our current and future timber supply constraints,” Mr Hampton said.
It’s in Australia’s national interest to secure our local timber supply by ensuring our timber plantation stock can meet future housing demand.
“It takes 25-30 years to grow our plantation estate and COVID has shown we can’t rely on imports, so government needs to also invest in innovation, engineered wood capability and manufacturing capacity to do more with the existing resources to meet shorter term supply constraints.
“This announcement is a necessary and welcome return to the successful Federal-State partnership model which drove the planting of almost one billion timber trees in the last century but has stagnated for the past 30 years.”
Ross Hampton and several AFPA team members have been Tasmania this week, engaging with key political figures, including MPs and candidates about what forest industries require to remain strong into the future.
AFPA CEO Ross Hampton with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce and Jenny Morrison in Tasmania on Monday.