Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is celebrating the great achievements of the forest industries with National Forestry Day which was held on Tuesday 30 August.
To mark the day in Albury, the Murray Region Forestry Hub (MRFH) held a tree planting event at National Foresters’ Grove, Wagga Road, Albury.
Attendees included NSW MP Justin Clancy, Mayor Albury City Kylie King, recently announced chair elect of AFPA Diana Gibbs, chair of Murray Region Forestry Hub (MRFH) Peter Crowe OAM, executive officer MRFH Phil Clements, and other members of the forest industry.
The MRFH is one of 11 Commonwealth-funded regional forestry hubs set up across Australia to identify the impediments and opportunities to develop the forestry and timber industry.
Peter Crowe said National Foresters’ Grove, a bicentennial project where more than 300 native trees have been planted in honour of past and present foresters, was the ideal place to celebrate the timber industries’ achievements.
He said National Forestry Day celebrates forest industries’ great work fighting climate change, providing jobs, and creating sought-after products such as house frames, cardboard boxes, and even paper straws, from a renewable source.
Mr Crowe said AFPA figures show Australia’s forest industries contribute $24 billion to the economy every year, and support around 80,000 direct jobs nationally and another 100,000 indirectly, many of which underpin rural and regional communities.
“The trees that makeup Australia’s total plantation forestry estate store vast amounts of carbon, which AFPA figures show equates to the same amount of carbon created by more than 56 million cars being driven for a year,” he said.
“AFPA figures show Australian forestry plants around 70 million new trees every year, enough to cover 136,000 football fields. Its native forestry operations are the most sustainable in the world and every harvested tree is replaced by laws protecting the environment. Native forestry produces beautiful timber products from furniture to floorboards.”
Mr Crowe said AFPA analysis has revealed that Australia’s forestry plantation estate has shrunk by the equivalent of 76-thousand timber house-frames as farmers and landowners move to other commodities which pay higher, short-term returns.
“Figures indicate that during the past six years the loss to the national estate has been staggering – falling 230,000 hectares from 1.973 million hectares in 2014-15 to 1.744 million hectares in 2020-21,” he said.
“This is disastrous news for builders as AFPA figures show it means the loss of the equivalent of 76-thousand frames – which equates to a city the size of Geelong – and serves as a warning to governments that policy incentives for farmers to plant production trees are critical.
“Australia has a $2 billion trade deficit in wood products. The Albanese Government aims to plant one billion more production trees by 2030 to help make our nation far less dependent on timber imports.”