The South West has been chosen for one of nine Regional Forestry Hubs announced today that are set to boost the growth of Australia’s forest industry.
Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson welcomed the announcement and said the South West pilot hub would provide strategic vision for the forest industries in the region.
“We are sowing the seeds for the first of our Regional Forestry Hubs under the $20 million National Forest Industries Plan,” Mr Wilson said.
“This plan will protect and grow the South West’s vital forestry industry, create more jobs, and open up opportunities to build new and improved roads, rail and port facilities.
“About 52,000 Australians are directly employed in growing and processing our forest products. Tens of thousands more jobs are indirectly supported by a sector that contributes more than $23 billion to the national economy.”
The South West pilot hub has been welcomed by the forest and wood products industry as an opportunity to help better prepare for future challenges and opportunities.
“The assessments that come from the South West Hub will provide industry with regional data that is not currently available, bringing potential to support new investment in the sector,” Mr Wilson said.
“This will assist our region to identify future investment and other opportunities for the forest industries in rural and regional Australia.
“For the Collie community, the South West pilot hub has the potential to create more jobs at an important time of transition for the community.
The hubs are a commitment in the Australian Government’s National Forest Industries Plan and will support strategic planning of future needs for the industry in the region and aims to deliver a billion new trees to meet a projected quadrupling of global demand for timber products by 2050.
“The hubs will involve the industry, all levels of government and local communities working together on the issues and opportunities for forestry in the regions.
“Funding will be available to support strategic planning, technical assessments and analyses that will contribute to infrastructure and other decisions by investors.
“The hubs have been identified in regions with existing concentrations of forests available for harvest, processing plants, transport routes and a skilled forestry workforce and the work now begins to determine the size and make up of each hub.