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Big Changes Ahead for Australian Forestry?

As responsible, ethical timber suppliers we feel it is our responsibility to keep our customers and the general public informed on matters involving forestry or the timber industry. When the Australian timber and forestry industries are strong and acting in an ecologically responsible manner, we all win.

Australia wins because there are more jobs, an abundant supply of timber and the environment is being taken care of. Our customers win because a healthy Australian forestry and timber industry means a lot of high quality, low-priced timber for everyone. And we win because you win.

In October 2014, the Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC) was established by the Australian Government. It enables a cross-section of participants in the forest industry to counsel the Government on issues that are important to the Forestry sector.

In June 2016, the FIAC released a comprehensive study with recommendations to help the timber industry grow as much as 300% by 2050. Here is a summary of their findings and recommendations.

How to Triple the Australian Timber Industry by 2050

There are roughly three objectives, each of which has a number of strategies and recommendations to achieve those objectives.

Objective One: The Right Trees in the Right Places in the Right Scale

The first strategy is to preserve the current “productive forest estate.” The first recommendation is to roll over all of the existing 20-year RFA’s or “Regional Forestry Agreements.” The next is to commit $300 million over ten years to reduce trees seen as “bushfire fuel” to help protect forests and communities.

The next strategy is to focus on strategic regions to optimise forest management. The first recommendation here is for the Government to adopt the same regional approach used by the forestry industry when creating policy. The next recommendation is to use farm forestry to expand key regional hubs. The last recommendation is to provide Government support for forests that are managed by Torres Strait Islander people or Aboriginals.

Objective Two: Effectively Use All Parts of Trees Down to a Cellular Level to Produce Timber Products

The first strategy is to find new, effective and creative ways to create products out of timber fibre. The recommendation for this objective is for the Government to establish a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation at a cost of $40 million.

The next strategy is to “develop technologies to commercial scale.” The first recommendation is to establish a Government innovation fund that will help bring these technologies to market in the early stages. The second is to encourage industry contributions by making sure all sectors of the industry are contributing, for the industry to allow an increase in the levy rate and for the Government to remove the current cap it has imposed on matching contributions to Forest and Wood Products Australia.

The last strategy for this objective is to enable and promote market adoption of goods and technology. The first recommendation is for the Government to remove many of the regulations and barriers to creating and using biomass from the forest while promoting it as a sustainable or renewable energy source.

They also recommend changes in emission regulations developing the skills and strategy to convert the bio economy.

Objective Three: Social Responsibility, Environmental Friendliness and Being Valued by the Community

The main strategies here are to promote Australian forestry as being environmentally responsible and enhancing support for the Forestry industry from communities and all of Australia. Recommendations include a code of conduct, “report cards,” Government certification via Government standards and making sure the world knows about Australia’s raised standards.

Beyond Timber Sales

As we all know, just because recommendations are made doesn’t mean they will be followed. And while we may have a few quibbles with the recommendations overall, we are all for anything that will help the timber industry prosper and produce a wide array of high quality timber products for Australians, now and in the future.

To learn more or to talk to the best customer service in the timber industry, call Narangba Timbers today on 1300 477 024.