Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Forestry Centre of Excellence

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (14:48): My question is to the—

Members interjecting:


The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY: My question is to the Minister for Forest Industries. Will the minister inform the chamber about the launch of the Forestry Centre of Excellence strategic plan and what it means for the forest industry in South Australia?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Mr Wortley, you have asked your question. How about we let the minister answer.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:49): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in this matter. Members on this side of the chamber are committed to growing the forest sector and working with industry to ensure that we can continue to see forestry remain a powerhouse industry in the South-East of the state and further afield within our state.

As Minister for Forest Industries, I am proud of the many forestry election commitments that we took to the election. A whole suite of policies was developed while in opposition after working with key stakeholders in the industry to ensure that our policies reflected the industry's requirements. That is in contrast to members opposite where forestry was almost never mentioned. They failed to develop any meaningful policies in the lead-up to the last state election, a fact that was not lost on local industry.

One of the key policies was for the development of the Forestry Centre of Excellence.

Members interjecting:


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: This is a project that is worth $15 million over 10 years and will provide long-term certainty to enable key research and development to occur, which will lead to better outcomes for the forest sector. Earlier this week, I was pleased to launch the Forestry Centre of Excellence strategic plan, which lays the groundwork for the vision for this key project. The centre will be the first of its kind in South Australia and has been developed with the key goal to both create long-term research and development capability and also enhance the region's economic prosperity, which will lead to more jobs and increased investment across the Limestone Coast region.

I would like to thank all of the stakeholders who have assisted in developing the strategic plan, which will see the centre established at the existing UniSA TAFE precinct and will accommodate key stakeholders, including the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub, Tree Breeding Australia and LITA Training. The strategic plan is guided by seven key directions:

enhancing the commercial competitiveness, profitability and prosperity of forest industries and the region;

identify and initiate new strategic opportunities, products and markets;

deliver practices and technologies maintaining the sustainability of the forestry-reliant natural resources, environment and biosecurity;

enable national and international collaborations, partnerships and business models;

enable effective technology, knowledge and expertise transfer;

provide a safe work environment and inclusive, supportive organisational culture; and

promotion and communication of the forest industries.

This strategy will assist in realising maximum resource value from fibre resources, reducing the carbon footprint left by industry, building greater collaboration between the government and industry and creating more diverse economic activity. The centre will have the ability to support the full forestry supply chain, from plantation management, harvesting and haulage through to timber processing.

Some of the areas that the strategic plan has identified as key research priorities include water and fire management, breeding, wood products, data analytics, carbon, silviculture and environmental management. The South Australian government will shortly commence a global search for a centre director who will be responsible for the implementation of the strategic plan. I look forward to being able to update the chamber further about this exciting project being delivered by the Malinauskas Labor government.