It is now one year on from the fanfare launch of the Government’s forest industry issues paper: “Meeting future market demand: Australia’s forest products and forest industry”.
It was the first time a Minister has unveiled an issues paper in front of a packed Great Hall.
The Government’s Forest Industry Advisory Council was tasked with developing a discussion paper on a national wood and fibre plan, yet, despite submissions closing in June and it being a “key priority for 2015" we have not seen any sign of the discussion paper let alone a policy.
The forestry sector has continued to be ignored by the Abbott-Turnbull Government, firstly through the failed White Paper process from which forestry was excluded and now through the lack of any future forestry plan.
The industry is understandably concerned Australia is falling behind our international competitors. In its own policy proposal: “Plantations, The Missing Piece of the Puzzle”, key stakeholders, the Australian Forest Products Association, state in the introduction that “Investment in new plantations in Australia has effectively come to a standstill. In fact, the true situation is even worse. We are going backwards”.
Almost three years into office and the Abbott-Turnbull Government has provided no strategic guidance to the forestry industry, not even a plan for discussion. This is to the detriment both of the industry and to the economies of the regional and rural communities who rely on the industry.
TUESDAY, 1 MARCH 2016