Australia’s South West selected for pilot forestry hub

The South West was selected as one of four pilot Regional Forestry Hubs being rolled out across Australia with $12.5 million (SGD 12 million) of funding announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

Forrest MP Nola Marino welcomed the announcement and said the South West’s Regional Forestry Hub had been welcomed by the 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,” she said.

“This will assist our region to identify future investment and other opportunities for the forest industries in rural and regional Australia.

For the South West communities, the Regional Forestry Hub also has the potential to create rural and regional jobs.”

Forest Industries Federation of WA acting chief executive Matt Granger said the industry had been anticipating it since last year’s launch of the National Forest Industries Plan, with its commitment of planting a billion trees over a decade, including 400,000 new hectares of plantations nationally.

“The Bunbury-Geographe Timber Hub is already a vibrant timber processing precinct, generating an estimated $490 million gross regional product per annum and over 700 jobs,” he said.

“This hub is poised to benefit from new investment arising from the Prime Minister’s announcement. The industry is keen to speak with the Federal Government about how this funding can help “turbo-charge” the Bunbury-Geographe Timber Hub, and how the $12.5 million will be distributed. The fundamental challenge at the WA and national level is getting those billion trees planted, in the right place and at the right scale, to support jobs and enterprise in the forestry hubs.

“We acknowledge the dogged efforts of Forrest MHR, Nola Marino, in helping elevate the Bunbury-Geographe Timber Hub for inclusion amongst the first national forestry hubs,” Mr Granger concluded.