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Backing Forestry to Create Jobs

25th May, 2017

Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources

The Hodgman Liberal Government’s number one priority is jobs and in the 2017-18 Budget we are backing our forest industry to grow and to create employment.

We are Building Tasmania’s Future by investing in our forest products, with $4 million over four years* to implement the actions identified in the Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmanian Forests, Fine Timber and Wood Fibre Industry.

The Plan sets an objective of doubling the “industry value add” to $1.2 billion by 2036. This is about creating more jobs by adding value to our forest resource.

As the Plan states, the future industry needs to be “sufficiently flexible”, it needs to “enjoy continuing access to a high-quality wood resource” and it must “include a vibrant special species timbers sector”.

This advice also confirms the importance of the direction the Government has taken to ensure resource security, flexibility and special timbers access through the Forestry (Unlocking the Forests) Bill 2017.

Of the funding committed to support the Plan, $1 million over four years will be invested in the strategic marketing of Tasmanian forestry products. This money will be matched dollar for dollar by industry.

The Forest Practices Authority will receive $300,000 a year to undertake analysis of the socio-economic impacts in the Forest Practices System.

There will be $450,000 invested over the next two years in community awareness projects related to forestry; highlighted as a priority in the Plan.

Seed funding of $150,000 will also be provided to help industry establish an umbrella organisation that will coordinate cooperative growth and investment strategies, research and development and other initiatives.

The establishment of a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, based in Launceston, will be supported with $2 million, which will be matched by the Australian Government.

Separate to the Plan, the Government will also deliver in this Budget more funding to Forestry Tasmania (FT) for its non-commercial activities.

The Government Business Enterprise is responsible for many kilometres of roads around the State that are now primarily used for tourist or firefighting access.

Access to these roads is of significant importance for tourism and for regional communities, which is why the Government is providing an additional $8 million a year in the Budget for Community Service Obligations.

Separating FT’s commercial activities from other infrastructure and services provided more for community benefits was a key part of the restructure initiated by the Government.

The Liberal Government is committed to Building Tasmania’s Future and this Budget delivers for forestry by supporting growth to create more jobs in the industry and by making our forest agency more sustainable.

* Half of this is new funding, with the remainder a reallocation of unspent monies previously tied to the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement.