Continuing to meet commitments for forest industry

12 May 2015

The Coalition Government remains committed to a strong and sustainable Australian forest industry.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the 2015 budget contains $1.5 million for a mechanical fuel load reduction trial. This will be funded from the existing National Bushfire Mitigation Programme we committed to at the last federal election.

"We will continue to support research and development and have allocated almost $3.5 million for matched contributions to Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) in 2015-16," Senator Colbeck

"The Coalition is also continuing to deliver on its commitment to contribute an additional $100 million to the rural Research and Development Corporations (RDC) through the Rural R&D for Profit programme.

"Another round of grants for collaborative projects funded under this programme will be available in 2015-16. I encourage the forest industry to take advantage of this opportunity to work with FWPA and the other RDCs to further strengthen innovation in the sector.

"As Treasurer Joe Hockey said in his budget speech, over the next few weeks we will be announcing our plans to strengthen agriculture production across Australia.

Senator Colbeck said Coalition Government is committed to a competitive and sustainable Australian forestry sector and is working to revitalise the industry.

"Innovation is key to ensuring the forest industry can capitalise on future opportunities, and we are committed to continuing to work with industry to secure a profitable and productive future for the sector," he said.

"A critical part of the supply chain in the forest sector involves small business, particularly in forest management, harvest and transport. We recognise that future growth will come from supporting small business and we recognise the need for better cash flow and better tools for innovation.

"I welcome the Treasurer's announcement of immediate tax deductions for small businesses for each item purchased up to $20,000."

This builds on our other commitments to the forest industry, including:

  • Supporting long-term Regional Forest Agreements (RFA) and establishing a 20 year rolling life to each agreement. Discussions with states are underway.
  • Formation of a Forest Industry Advisory Council and release of a discussion paper, which is the first step in developing an industry-led issues paper to drive the industry into the future.
  • $15 million for a National Bushfire Mitigation Programme.
  • Strengthening our approach to stop illegally sourced timber entering Australia.
  • Supporting use of wood biomass for inclusion in the Renewable Energy Target
  • Promotion of the forest industry in important overseas markets including China and Japan.
  • Continue our work to obtain recognition for carbon farming and storage in the forestry sector.

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