Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


National Forestry Day

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (15:15): My question is to the Minister for Forest Industries. Will the minister inform the chamber about the significance of National Forestry Day?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:16): I thank the member for his question. August 30 marked National Forestry Day, which is an initiative of the Australian Forest Products Association and state-based advocacy groups. The day is designed to be an opportunity to raise awareness of the great work being done by the forestry industry and its many employees across the country.

As members in this place will know, there was a lot to celebrate within the forest industry under the Malinauskas Labor government. We are delivering the Forestry Centre for Excellence, contributing $15 million over 10 years to provide for long-term forestry research and development capability in South Australia. We have announced our ongoing commitment to supporting and expanding the Forest Industry Advisory Committee (FIACSA) and $2 million over three years for a forest products domestic manufacturing and infrastructure plan. We have also recently committed $2 million dollars in the state budget to replace fire towers with new camera technologies. These are just some of the commitments that we have made to this vital industry in South Australia.

According to a report released by the South Australian Forest Products Association there are 21,000 South Australians employed in the forestry sector, supplying 35 per cent of the nation's housing timber and making a significant contribution to our local economy, community and environment. I was pleased to be joined by ForestrySA staff, along with the Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association, Mr Nathan Payne, last week on National Forestry Day, to plant a special pine seedling at Kuitpo Forest Reserve to mark the contribution of South Australia's thriving forestry industry. The commemorative pine seedling is expected to reach its full potential in some 30 years' time.

Our forests are great for the environment. They store carbon, provide jobs and allow us to create a range of renewable products, such as house frames, fence posts and paper. Tree planting in the heart of the local forest industry was the perfect way to celebrate such an important day. The tree is just one of around 500,000 already planted across the 10,000-hectare Mount Lofty Ranges plantation estate during the winter of 2022 as part of the ForestrySA annual replanting program. All plantation areas within the ForestrySA estate are re-established following harvest, allowing sustainable timber production well into the future.

South Australian timber is used to produce building, agricultural and horticultural products, stimulating activity across the local supply chain and making a valuable contribution to South Australia's economy. ForestrySA sites also welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to our forests every year for activities such as camping, hiking, mountain bike riding and community events, and are looking to enhance these recreational opportunities where possible, alongside our commercial wood production. The future is very bright for forestry in our neck of the woods.