Minister for Forests Leon Bignell has released a blueprint outlining future innovation and investment opportunities for South Australia’s forest and wood products industry.
In a media release issued on Wednesday, Minister Bignell stated that the Blueprint for the Future South Australian Forest and Wood Products Industry (2014 – 2040) would help to ensure the long-term sustainable growth of the industry.
“South Australia’s forest and wood products industry is an important part of our economy, generating annual revenue of around $2.6 billion, and creating jobs especially in the state’s regions. Despite a range of economic challenges, the industry has not sat idle, with dozens of representatives contributing ideas for advancing the forestry and wood products sector during the 18-month consultation on this new blueprint,” he said.
“The document sets out different ways to grow the industry through investment and innovation in sustainable resources, processing capacity and products, marketing and promotion, and workforce development.”
Minister Bignell said the blueprint and the Government’s policy statement would build on key South Australian Government initiatives, including the Cellulosic Fibre Value Chain Study, the South East Forestry Partnerships Program (SEFPP).
“The release of the Government’s policy statement was the first step in implementing some of the opportunities listed on the blueprint, sending a clear message that South Australia continued to support our forestry industry and was open for business,” he said.
“Other steps identified in the blueprint included engaging with the Victorian Government on cross-border issues, and the recent announcement of phase two of the SEFPP to further deliver on the recommendations from the Cellulosic Fibre Value Chain Study.”
The blueprint was produced by the South Australian Forestry Industry Advisory Board in extensive collaboration and consultation with industry, government and the community, said Chair Trevor Smith.
“Thanks to the valuable input from many participants, we have a blueprint which provides real direction to achieve significant economic, social and environmental outcomes,” Mr Smith said.
“Key areas include the creation of an enabling business environment, collaborative investment in research and development, and actively engaging the community on the benefits of sustainable plantation wood.”
Mr Smith said the ongoing input and support from industry and the community was crucial to supporting a long-term viable and prosperous industry.
Mount Gambier relies more heavily on forestry sector employment than other regions and large cities in Australia, with 11% of its workforce in the industry.