September 10, 2014
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, has welcomed investment in Australia's plantation sector and said it shows the industry is open for business.
Senator Colbeck said the Coalition is encouraged by confidence shown through recent investments in the plantation sector.
The Australian Plantation Statistics 2014 update was released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and provides an up-to-date look at Australia's softwood and hardwood plantations.
"The Australian Plantation Statistics annual report supports forest industry planning and decision-making," Senator Colbeck said.
"The report found Australia's total plantation estate remained stable in 2012-13, with a total of 2,012,500 hectares reported compared with 2,012,600 hectares in 2011-12."
"About 2200 hectares of new plantation areas were established in 2012-13, this figure is offset by the removal of areas that were either deemed commercially unviable or did not replant at the end of their lease agreement."
"This shows the dynamic nature of rural land use, where plantation estates can be returned to other agricultural activities."
Senator Colbeck said recent investment in the plantation sector demonstrates companies are here for the long haul and are committed to expanding plantation estates on suitable land as well as increasing productivity on existing estates.
"It is pleasing to see recent investment in the plantation sector, especially after a period under the previous Labor/Green government where the industry was effectively discouraged by measures that excluded the industry," he said.
Senator Colbeck said the Coalition is committed to rebuilding Australia's forestry sector and supporting it with appropriate policies that will help the sector grow.