1 June 2018
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, ministers and senior officials responsible for forestry and Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) met in Melbourne today, for the fifth Forestry Ministers Meeting.
The ministers discussed a range of issues facing Australia’s forestry industries and how governments could continue to support the sector. Matters discussed included:
- progress in developing the new Australian Government plan to support Australia’s renewable timber and wood-fibre industry, announced by the Prime Minister in September 2017
- progress on implementing the Australian Government recommendations in the report of the Forest Industry Advisory Council, Transforming Australia’s forest products industry
- the progress of RFA processes in all four RFA states
- the impact that log exports are having on domestic processors in some parts of Australia.
The ministers agreed that:
- they were supportive of the development of the new National Forestry Industry Plan, noting that $20 million was announced for its implementation through the 2018‑19 Federal Budget, including for farm forestry, Indigenous forestry and public acceptance
- the Forestry and Forest Products Committee (senior officials) would continue to report to future Forestry Ministers Meetings on the implementation of the Forest Industry Advisory Council recommendations relevant to governments
- Australian and state governments should generally not intervene in the log export trade to avoid distorting the market.
The meeting reiterated its commitment to the RFAs and confirmed they would continue to collaborate on outcomes from RFA processes. RFAs provide security for the forestry industry and have also led to many millions of hectares of native forest being added to Australia’s conservation estate.