Labor Pushes Forest Link With Housing in SA Cabinet Reshuffle

SA Premier talks up need for affordable homes

Fri 19 Apr 24


South Australia Forestry Minister Clare Scriven has retained her role in the Malinauskas Labor Government’s cabinet reshuffle this week in a sector aligned to a new ‘super portfolio’ scripted to improve housing infrastructure in the state.

The cabinet changes are the first since Premier Peter Malinauskas won office in the 2022 election.

Clare Scriven, previously state manager of the Australian Forest Products Association, takes on a busier, wider portfolio to include Primary Industries and Regional Development.

She says these new responsibilities won’t interrupt a commitment to the state’s forest industry and the South Australian Wood Fibre and Timber Industry Master Plan.

“The plan, developed by the Forest Industries Advisory Council, has a vision to further grow and develop the $1.4 billion forest and timber industry into future decades,” Ms Scriven said.

“This includes three goals – the right resource and capability; a future-focused workforce; and a clean and green circular economy.”

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The potential for more than 2,500 new homes has been unlocked in regional South Australia after the Minister for Planning initiated two code amendments. “We are fast-tracking land supply across the state to boost much-needed supply and tackle the regional housing crisis,” said Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nick Champion. (Photo Credit: Barunga West Council)

The master plan will invest in “priority projects” such as the $200,000 investment for Fennell Forestry to commence Phase 2 of an electric log truck trial. This will examine how heavy vehicle decarbonisation can contribute towards a green circular economy.

The trial will build on the outcomes of Phase 1 last year by Fennell Forestry testing Australia’s first electric heavy vehicle.

Ms Scriven said the master plan would be reviewed annually to keep pace with socio-economic and environmental changes influencing the industry, particularly international trade, climate change and technological developments.

The minister will also push ahead with a $70,000 commitment to the South Australian Forest Products Association, developing a state-of-the-industry report alongside other initiatives as part of the government’s $2 million-three-year election ‘spend’ on the sector.

With added responsibilities in a new ‘super portfolio,’ Housing Minister Nick Champion will take on an expanded role embracing all aspects of housing, housing infrastructure, urban development, and planning, including SA Water’s responsibilities.

The government has delivered the first substantial increase to public housing in a generation — building an additional 564 public homes for South Australians.

Nick Champion said an additional 1144 public homes would be provided by mid-2026.

“As part of its plan for a ‘Better Housing Future’, we have committed an additional $55.2 million over the next four years into new public housing,” he said.

The funding is in addition to the government’s $177.5 million commitment to deliver 400 new public homes, upgrade 350 others, and allow extra maintenance for a further 3000 properties.

Announcing the new ‘housing super portfolio’, Premier Peter Malinauskas reflected: Nothing is more fundamentally important to a quality life than a safe, affordable home. My dad worked at the Housing Trust for more than 35 years. I’ve seen the difference public housing can make.

“For too long, governments both Liberal and Labor have stood by as our public homes have been sold off while waiting lists grow. No longer.”


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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