A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a positive plan for the future growth and sustainable profitability and of the forestry and forests products industries.
Our policy is about developing further productive plantation forests and farm forestry to support jobs, particularly those in our regions.
It’s important that we focus on economic, social and environmental outcomes, it’s the only way to grow jobs on a sustainable basis and to maintain community support for the sector.
That’s why Labor has developed its positive policy in consultation with industry, unions and other key stakeholders.
There are huge opportunities to grow our fibre industries: timber, wood products, furniture, paper products manufacturing, as well as developing newer materials like carbon fibre, light-weight materials, bio-products and advanced polymers.
However, the industry will not meet its future growth potential if it cannot obtain the resources it needs.
Labor’s $20 million investment into the forestry and forest products industry will:
- Deliver a National Forestry Summit and a National Forestry Strategic Plan, to support the growth of a more sustainable and prosperous forestry industry.
- Prioritise the removal of the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) water rule, a policy vital for the sustainability of the forestry industry.
- Support growth in forest industries in regional Australia by investing $13 million over 4 years for 13 regional forestry hubs including the identified four trial hubs already contracted by the Government.
- Reform the Forest Industry Advisory Council by broadening its membership to include broader industry and worker representation. Consistent with the Regional Forest Agreements Act 2002 the council will act as a forum where the Minister and stakeholders in the forest and wood products industry consult together and exchange advice and information.
- Restore proper Commonwealth and State relationships by re-establishing the COAG process for the Standing Council on Primary Industries. Labor will continue to support the side meetings of the Forestry Ministers at the Federal and State levels.
- Provide funding for forestry and forest products industry worker safety initiatives.
- Provide up to $4 million over 3 years to address identified skill shortages in the forest and forest products industry.
- Continued support for Regional Forest Agreements, that are based on the best available science as it applies to the proper consideration of social, economic and environmental factors.
- Expand export opportunities by working with industry to improve trading opportunities for the wood and paper products sectors.
- Labor recognises the bio-mass must only be used as a renewable energy source in a responsible, environmentally sustainable way. Labor will oppose any policies which create an economic incentive to use old growth forests as bio-mass fuel. But we recognise the role of bio-energy and bio-mass from plantation forests in Australia’s renewable mix and work with the forestry industry to ensure bioenergy plays a responsible role in Australia’s future renewable energy economy. Labor will further discuss the role of bio-energy and bio-mass in Australia’s renewable mix in the context of climate change at the National Forestry Summit and the development of a Bioenergy Strategy.
These policy initiatives will be supported by Labor’s announced policies in the following areas:
- Lifting research and development investment to 3 per cent of GDP per annum by 2030, to ensure manufacturing has the best scientific and research expertise available.
- Supporting firms to innovate and grow through our $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund (AMFF).
- Encouraging business to invest in this country through the Australian Investment Guarantee (AIG), with local businesses benefiting from a new accelerated depreciation scheme for new capital assets.
- Implementing a Local Projects, Local Jobs plan, that will see more government procurement and investment in major projects spent on local businesses and local jobs.
- Ending the Liberals and Nationals war on science and returning science to the centre of government by resetting the relationship between government and Australia’s scientists and researchers.
- Investing $1 billion to boost TAFE, apprenticeships and skills including, scrapping upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students who choose to learn the skills that Australia needs to become a modern advanced manufacturing economy.
- Ensure Australian Standards are applied when local manufactured plywood and engineered wood products are being considered in construction projects.
Only Labor understands that the forestry sector does not have a moment to lose after enduring almost six years of no action and chaos from the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.