Sunday, 19 March, marked the one-year anniversary of the newly elected Malinauskas State Government, where the South Australian forest industries were beneficiaries of $19 million in election commitments.
“Leading up to the State Election, the South Australian Forest Products Association stood up for regional jobs and the need to grow domestic manufacturing by supporting South Australia’s sustainable, renewable forest industries”, said Mr Nathan Paine, Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA).
“Through our policy initiatives and advocacy, SAFPA were grateful to secure the attention of the now-Minister for Forest Industries, The Honourable Clare Scriven, MLC, who committed to invest an additional $19 million to further develop and support our industry and regional communities”, continued Mr Paine.
SAFPA congratulates the Malinauskas Government on maintaining a strong focus on the industry and also our regions after the election with the Government already delivering on a number of their key election commitments to forestry, particularly,
- Appointing a Cross Border Commissioner.
- Held Community Cabinet in the Southeast.
- $2 million to replace fire towers with new technologies.
- $15 million over ten years for a new Centre for Excellence.
- Development of a Trees on Farms Initiative.
- Establish a formal, representatives industry reference group to work with the Landscape Board to have input into the development of the next Water Allocation Plan.
With substantial progress made on the following commitments:
- Support an expanding role of FIAC-SA.
- Invest $2 million over three years to develop a Forest Products Domestic Manufacturing and Infrastructure Masterplan.
- Undertake a comprehensive, independent review of the 2013 Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan.
- Invest an additional $5 million in facilities and equipment for the Mount Gambier TAFE to enable it to provide critical trade shortage courses such as for Wood Technicians (Saw Doctors).
- Investigate the feasibility of incentives to ensure that arrangements favour local processors.
- Investigate the options for diverting water flow from the drainage network away from the sea and retaining it in the landscape.
“Our attention now turns to the work still needed to achieve a vibrant and robust forest and timber products industry in South Australia. With global demand for fibre-based products continuing to grow, and the need to secure our own sovereign capability of fibre supply, we are under pressure to plant more trees in the ground today to meet the future fibre needs tomorrow”, confirmed Mr Paine.
“Unfortunately, our plantation estates have shrunk over the past decade with around 50,000 hectares lost due to environmental and water policy that has stopped the replanting of trees in core forestry areas”, said Mr Paine.
SAFPA’s top priority is to immediately halt the loss of any more estate by ensuring every tree harvested can be, and is, replanted in conjunction with the implementation of policies that ensures the growth of forest plantation estate.
SAFPA are committed to continuing the important work of advocating the needs of South Australia’s forest and timber industries that not only generate almost $3 billion a year towards the State’s economy but creates jobs for over 21,000 South Australians and sequesters 4.64 tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere making South Australia a cleaner and greener place to live and work.