“One of nine new forestry hubs announced by the Prime Minster yesterday is great news for the North East NSW timber regions” said Andrew Hurford, President of Timber NSW.
“The North East will be one of the first four pilot sites attracting a share of the $12.5 million available to kick-start a total of nine new forest industry hubs around Australia.”
“The forest industry hubs are designed to turbo charge growth in the forest products industries in regional Australia. It is such a coup for North East NSW that our extraordinary range of forest industries has been identified to benefit from the injection of federal funding.”
The NSW Forestry Industry Roadmap target of 150,000 new timber industry jobs in NSW relies on boosting timber supply and fostering innovation in new products and markets for forest products. A forestry hub for the North East of NSW starts that exciting process.
Demand for forestry and forest products continues to grow, but we have a $2B annual timber trade deficit – we keep importing more timber from overseas to fill the domestic requirements. Over 75% of all sawn timber produced in NSW is used for domestic construction. We need these hubs and North East NSW has the capacity to expand and help reduce that deficit.
Additionally the Morrison Government has committed to planting one billion new trees over the next decade (including 400,000 new hectares of plantations nationally). With bipartisan support from both major parties for the concept of hubs, the pilot hubs are an important first step and will help ensure the ‘right trees are planted in the right places’.
“We look forward to seeing the detail on the North East NSW hub which to be successful will require regulatory support for investment, regional infrastructure around strategic plantation hubs and industry skills development. The challenge for the NSW government will be to capitalise on the federal funding boost for the North East and create an innovative research and develop hub for the forest industries ideally located at Southern Cross University in Lismore” Mr Hurford said.