The Australian Forest Products Association has welcomed the Albanese government’s explicit guarantee that projects involving the processing of native forestry products will be eligible for support under the newly established National Reconstruction Fund (NRF).
Announced in October 2022, the National Reconstruction Fund provides finance for projects that diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy.
Today, the $15 billion-dollar National Reconstruction Fund passed the Australian Senate, setting stage for major investment in renewable and ‘value-adding’ technology.
The Priority areas include renewables and low emissions technologies – including low-carbon forestry – providing a major opportunity for the Australian forest products industry.
“We also thank Tasmanian senators Jacqui Lambie and Tammy Tyrrell for their efforts to support native forestry during negotiations on the legislation,” AFPA CEO Joel Fitzgibbon said in an AFPA media release.
“The Greens amendments removing sustainable native forest harvesting eligibility under the NRF legislation was a stunt with no practical effect. But with JLN support we were able to secure comfort on the value-adding front,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“I also thank Coalition MPs and senators for their ongoing support for our sector.”
Mr Fitzgibbon, who in January 2023 wrote an exclusive opinion piece for Wood Central, said Australia’s sustainable native forest industries should be recognised as a beacon, operating to world class environmental standards while producing essential products that we cannot live without.
“They also employ many thousands of people, especially in rural and regional Australia and allow Australians to access essential native timber and fibre products that would otherwise come from less environmentally reputable supply chains internationally.”
And not just jobs too.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sustainable forestry, along with sustainably produced forest products, is the solution to addressing climate change.
Mr Fitzgibbon said he looked forward to continuing to work with all MPs and senators across federal parliament to ensure a strong, resilient and sustainable future for Australia’s world class native forest industries.