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Potential for Growth

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Following on from the launch of this section in the April-May issue of AA, we’re again delving into a range of forestry-related topics in this issue, against the backdrop of what by any measure has been an eventful few months for both the forestry industry and industry in general.

Of course, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently being felt across a wide range of industries, and in the following months, as industry collectively seeks to navigate a path forward, a clearer picture will emerge about its ongoing effects.

Here at AA, we’re firmly focused on continuing to deliver our readers an overview of what is happening in industry both locally and overseas, along with the tools required to get the job done, from equipment reviews to the latest technologies and trends.

Read on the following pages for some of the recent developments in industry from around the country.

Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) study has highlighted the potential for growth of the northern Australian forestry and forest products industry, finding it could potentially treble its production value to up to $300 million per annum over the next five to 10 years.

The analysis, the result of a collaboration between the CRCNA, Timber Queensland (TQ), the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the University of the Sunshine Coast, also points to the potential to generate up to 600 direct jobs in the forest products industry.

It found that these increases could be achieved via sustainable management of northern forestry areas for timber harvesting, and by maintaining a framework conserving the natural values of the forest.

According to the study, the industry is currently estimated to have an annual production output of around $84 million, supporting more than 1,240 direct jobs.

TQ CEO Mick Stephens observed that key industry sectors have until now largely been based on establishing around 100,000 hectares of underlying plantation forest resources for downstream processing and export markets.

“With forecast increases in demand for forest products both domestically and globally, the industry is poised to take advantage of growing Asian and domestic markets for a range of plantation wood fibre and timber products,” he commented.

With the study making a number of recommendations geared to delivering further industry growth, Stephens noted “the analysis shows government and industry must focus on removing barriers for downstream processing and value-adding for forest product and timber markets – and addressing barriers to new plantation investment”.

NSW Government Establishes $140 Million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package

Following the bushfires late last year and early this year, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the NSW government’s announcement that it is establishing a $140 million Bushfire Industry Recovery Package.

The government has advised that the package will support the forestry, horticulture and agriculture industries impacted by the bushfires, helping these industries to recover and rebuild.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro stated that it will be focused “on recovery in the short term and will support valuable investments to help these sectors plan for recovery in the longer term”.

AFPA Chief Executive Ross Hampton said the government has provided “a clear sign that primary industry and regional NSW is a priority, and our renewable forest product industries are an important part of that”, with the AFPA to “urgently engage” with the government on how the funding will be distributed.

“The bushfires have had a devastating impact on all sectors of our industry, from forest growers, to harvest contractors, to hardwood and softwood timber processing and manufacturing,” he said.

Hampton pointed to softwood timber-producing areas, such as the Tumut/ Tumbarumba region, which have been adversely affected by both the fires and the COVID-19 pandemic, stating the “package could be the shot in the arm that’s needed to help recover”.

“It will also support the hardwood timber industry along the coast affected by the bushfires, which is also struggling,” he stated.

“The forest products industries are mostly based in regional NSW, and when they are affected negatively, the communities who directly rely on them for jobs feel the pain as well. This package may be aimed at industry, but its relief will flow on to everyone.”

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