Legislative Council: Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Forestry Industry

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (14:51): My question is to the Minister for Forest Industries. Will the minister update the chamber about the importance of the forest industry in South Australia on the International Day of Forests and the World Wood Day?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:51): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in our forest industry. I am delighted to update the chamber on the importance of forests to the South Australian economy. We understand and appreciate the importance of the forest industry in South Australia. When I say 'we', I mean those of us on this side of the chamber.

It's a significant industry that contributes an enormous amount to the state's economy. Indeed, the recent Primary Industries Scorecard shows that an incredible $1.4 billion of wood and paper products are produced in South Australia each year. That is a significant and impressive contribution, especially given the fact that South Australia's forest and wood products industry, I am advised, is entirely based on forest plantations that cover just 0.2 per cent of the state's land area.

World Wood Day is held on 21 March to highlight wood as an eco-friendly and renewable resource and to raise awareness on the key role wood plays in a sustainable world. The 2023 theme is Wood in Cultural Heritage, which emphasises the role wood has played in human history, lifestyle and the environment. One needs only to look at the continued advancements around the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (GLT) to understand that timber will continue to play a significant role in human history and our environment.

GLT and CLT will soon be manufactured right here in South Australia and have the potential to play a key role in the state's construction industry, with the ability to build buildings as high as 16 storeys from CLT timber. GLT are pieces of laminated structural timber that are layered and glued on each other in the same direction, giving GLT increase in strength, and is commonly used for structural beams. CLT is a product that is glued at a 90° angle to the layer above, which gives the product strength in both directions and gives CLT similar characteristics, in terms of strength, to concrete.

I congratulate Timberlink in the South-East on their ongoing commitment to develop and manufacture this impressive product here in South Australia. Once their new facility is complete, it will be the first and only location in this state where CLT and GLT are manufactured.

Today also marks the International Day of Forests, which celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests, including plantations. The theme for this year is forests and health, with key messages including 'forests boost our mental health' and 'forests play a central role in combating climate change'. That is why the state government is delivering on our election commitments such as the Trees on Farms initiative. This initiative will further assist the growth and development of the on-farm forest plantation sector, with the state government so far investing $210,000 in the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub to assist with this initiative.

The investment will see industry knowledge and research transferred to landholders through reports and forums facilitated by PIRSA about new and shorter rotation plantation management models, addressing barriers which may inhibit the harvesting of smaller forests, identifying suitable land areas for farm-based forestry, and understanding Emissions Reduction Fund opportunities.

The forestry industry has an exciting future ahead of it, and I am delighted that the Malinauskas Labor government took to the election a comprehensive suite of policies that have the support of industry. I look forward to continuing to update the chamber about this exciting industry over the months and years ahead.