Positive signs for Australian forest industries

23 June, 2015

Australia's forest industries continue to rebuild and strengthen according to the latest ABARES report Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2014.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the report reflects the resilience of Australia's forestry industry and indicates that is has a bright future ahead.

"Confidence is returning to our forestry industry after years of neglect under a Labor Government, and we're seeing signs of emerging from a difficult period," Senator Colbeck said.

"The volume of logs harvested has increased 12 per cent to more than 25 million cubic metres and the value of logs harvested is up to the highest level since 2010-11.

"This was led by a 31 per cent increase in the volume of hardwood plantation logs, and both native forest and softwood log harvest also increased 7.5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

"The strong growth in log harvest corresponded to increased activity in many of our forest-based industries such as sawnwood (estimated increase of 4.7 per cent) and wood-based panel production (estimated increase of 3.5 per cent).

"Markets for wood products are also showing signs of improvement with increased housing activity and growth in both imports and exports of wood products.

"This ABARES report shows real improvement in the sector and we're also seeing on the ground signs that the industry is improving with new and innovative uses for timber emerging, it is cementing its place as an important building material of the 21st century."

Senator Colbeck said the Australian Government is committed to a profitable and competitive forestry sector and is delivering on that promise.

"This government is focused on common sense policy in the forest industry, and this work is clearly reaping benefits for the industry," Senator Colbeck said.

"Australia's wood products and forest industry have an important role to play in a more prosperous and sustainable future for all Australians--so it's crucial we have the right policy settings in place.

"Despite the challenges in the sector, it's clear that Australia's forestry industry is strong and resilient, and the government is committed to ensuring it remains that way through good policy and meaningful consultation."

For a copy of the report visit www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications

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