The Marshall Liberal Government is investing more than $50 million as part of our commitment to support our forestry and wood products industries, including upgrading regional roads in forestry regions and investing in enhanced forestry processing capacity in the South East.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said state government agencies and local councils will be encouraged to purchase sustainably sourced timber for future construction and refurbishment projects under a South Australian Wood Encouragement Policy to be developed in consultation with industry.

Minister Basham made the announcement at a meeting with forestry industry representatives in Mount Gambier on Wednesday, responding to recommendations to grow and support the sector made by the Forest Industry Advisory Council of South Australia (FIACSA).

FIACSA was established by the Marshall Liberal Government in 2018 to bring industry and government together to identify opportunities to drive towards achieving the industry’s vision of doubling the economic value of South Australia’s timber production by 2050.

Since FIACSA was established the industry in South Australia has committed well over $360 million in capital upgrades and investments in local timber manufacturing.

“South Australia’s $2.3 billion forest and wood products sector is an important economic driver for the state, particularly in the Green Triangle region which is one of Australia’s premier softwood timber producing regions,” Minister Basham said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has always recognised the industry’s importance which is why, in establishing FIACSA in December 2018, we delivered on an election commitment to strengthen our communication lines so that we could all work towards common objectives.

“The FIACSA recommendations covering a range of topics and the Government’s supportive responses to these recommendations will not only be to the advantage to the timber industry but also lead to flow on benefits for our regions and allied industries.

“With the impact of COVID-19, trade complications and the 2019-20 bushfires, along with the shortage of available domestic construction timber, this is a key time to help the industry realise its vision for growth.

“It is essential we support the sector to grow. Labor sold off and sold out the forestry industry in the South East, whereas the Marshall Liberal Government is investing back into this ultimate renewable industry and jobs and is encouraging growth.

“We see a great future in building things with wood and fibre and the community should be proud of our plantation growers, skilled harvesters and sawmill operators.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has supported the FIACSA recommendations and is committed to working with the Council, the broader industry and regional communities to build upon what has been achieved so far.”

Some important South Australian forestry initiatives since 2018:

  • an additional $2 million to the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation Mount Gambier Centre to further develop forestry research
  • significant road investments, transport and heavy vehicle reform
  • $2.1 million Regional Growth Fund support for Timberlink’s new cross-laminated and glue laminated timber plant and South East Pine Sales’ new automated wood drying facility.
  • $2 million to aid the freight of construction grade logs salvaged from bushfire-affected plantations on Kangaroo Island to mainland Australia
  • $2 million Additional Structural Timber Supply grants aimed at manufacturing additional logs into structural timber for South Australian home builders.
  • $1 million for Primary Producers South Australia to assist the peak agriculture body provide advice to the State Government on primary industries and regional matters impacting the agriculture and forestry industries.
  • $1.1 million towards upgrading forest fire surveillance and prevention in the South East along with almost $100 million broader statewide investment to ensure South Australia is better prepared for future catastrophic bushfire events.

For further information on the State Government response to the FIACSA report, Partnering with the Ultimate Renewable Industry, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au.