Colbeck reassures forestry at ABARES conference

Australia’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck has assured the industry that the outlook for the forest, seafood and horticulture sectors is bright despite clear risks, with continued growth in Australia and overseas providing new markets and opportunities. That was the key message delivered to delegates at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) annual Outlook conference in Canberra.

“The Liberal National Government is committed to making the tough choices to boost agricultural productivity and resilience in the forest, seafood and horticulture industries,” Minister Colbeck said.

“The Liberal National Government will hold the line on native forestry, a vital industry for regional jobs that is under persistent threat from anti-science activists. We have the balance right on economic and environmental security in the native forest industry.

We will also clear the roadblocks that have caused the stagnation of plantation growth and plant a billion new trees over the next decade.”

Minister Colbeck referred to the recently released report, the Australia’s State of the Forests Report 2018, produced by ABARES. It is the fifth in the series of national five-yearly reports on Australia’s forests covering all levels of forest management.

“The report demonstrated that our forest and wood products industries have a strong future, but as a nation we can’t risk going back to anti-industry ideology that did so much damage in the past.

In the last year the Federal government announced $20 million over four years to 2021-22 to support the implementation of the National Forest Industries Plan with a goal to plant a billion more trees over a decade. While in November last year, the government announced a $13.3 million research project to look at tree genetics to understand how genes control traits valuable to growers.