Celebrating the diversity of Australian forestry

20 March, 2015

Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture said International Day of Forests is an opportunity to recognise the contribution that forests make to our everyday lives.

Tomorrow (March 21) is International Day of Forests, which is a United Nations initiative to celebrate the importance of forests for livelihoods, fuel, food and medicine.

Senator Colbeck said the forestry industry is an important provider of employment, especially in regional areas, and makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy.

"Since the Coalition won office in 2013 we have seen employment in the forestry industry increase by 10,000 jobs, which is a great show of confidence in the future of the industry," he said.

"The forestry industry not only provides employment for tens of thousands of Australians, but also has significant environmental benefits especially when you consider that wood-based construction consumes less energy than concrete or steel and has benefits for carbon storage."

"Timber is the building material of the 21st century and provides a win-win situation for the environment, for the industry and for our local communities."

"We are entering an exciting period of innovation in the use of forest produce to replace products previously obtained from the fossil fuel industry and the Coalition wants to create an environment where Australia is at the forefront of developing and utilising these types of products."

Senator Colbeck said the Coalition recognises the importance of forests to Australia's landscape and biodiversity and is promoting sustainable use of production forests, such that there is little difference between production forests and forests in reserves.

"We also recognise the important contributions that planted forests can play in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere, while also contributing to the forest products industry," he said.

"The Coalition is working on the Direct Action Plan to ensure landowners can contribute to efforts to increase tree cover under the Carbon Farming Initiative."

Australia has 124.7 million hectares of forest covers about 16 per cent of the continent. This includes native forests and industrial plantations of various softwoods and hardwoods.

Find out more about International Day of Forests here http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/

200315 Celebrating the diversity of Australian forestry
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