Keeping our promises to the forest industry

10 October 2014

The future of the forest sector was on the agenda at the inaugural meeting of the Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) in Melbourne yesterday.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, who is one of two co 'chairs of council, said the meeting demonstrated how the forest industry and government can work together.

"This meeting is a prime example of the Australian Government's commitment to listening to industry, to following through and working in partnership with our valuable forest industry," Senator Colbeck said.

Senator Colbeck said the Council would be an action 'oriented forum and discussions would not be left at the table.

"The first meeting included discussion about meeting the demand for forest based products into the 21st century produced in accordance with public expectations. We also discussed wood and fibre products as an alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels and energy intensive building products," Senator Colbeck said.

"The Council will build upon previous work to inform the development of a National Forests and Wood Plan. This will set the scene for future management of our production forests for wood supply while still meeting our aspirational goals for conservation and community needs."

The establishment of FIAC was one of the Coalition's key election commitments to revitalise the forest industry.

Members of the council have a broad range of industry experience including native forests and plantations, public and private forestry, farm forestry and community and Indigenous forestry, as well as timber milling and pulp and paper manufacturing. This representation reflects the Council's responsibilities over the whole value chain of the sector.

The Australian forestry industry is vital in many regional communities around Australia and contributed about $7 billion to our national gross domestic product in 2012-13.

A second meeting of the FIAC will be held later this year.

101014 Keeping our promises to the forest industry
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