30 June 2020

The impact of the bushfires on Australia’s forestry industry could be felt for decades, which is why the Morrison Government is taking action now.

The ABARES analysis of Effects of bushfires and COVID-19 on the forestry and wood processing sectors, released today, has found an easing in residential construction and increased export uncertainty are major challenges for the forestry industry. 

The report found the duration of the economic impacts of COVID-19 are uncertain, but the bushfires could have a lasting impact on domestic log supply for the coming decades. 

Assistant Minister for Forestry Jonno Duniam said the Government would continue to address the challenges posed by the bushfires.

“We have been working hard with industry to identify targeted initiatives to assist them to get back onto their feet, to secure jobs and future-proof for generations to come,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“We understand the issues the forestry industry is facing and have taken action to support them, including committing $65 million in targeted support to assist the industry to rebuild.

“The Morrison Government’s new forestry initiatives include a $40 million Forestry Recovery Development Fund for grants of between $1 million and $5 million to deliver innovative new investments in facilities and technology. The Fund will secure and create jobs, especially in our regional communities that have been hardest hit by the bushfires.

“In addition to this, we have committed $15 million for Salvage Log Transport Assistance, provided through the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, which will support transport of salvaged burnt logs to storage and processors.

“We have also announced $10 million for a Salvage Log Storage Fund to establish storage facilities for fire-affected salvage logs in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

The Morrison Government is supporting the forestry industry through the $680 million HomeBuilder scheme, which will boost residential construction and secure jobs right across the supply chain.

The Government is committed to rebuilding the forestry industry in the wake of the devastating bushfires. This recovery will be informed by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources inquiry into timber supply chain constraints in the Australian plantation sector and the ABARES spatial survey currently being conducted.

The Morrison Government will continue to work with the forestry industry to deliver further assistance that not only secures access to critical forestry resources, but secures a long-term recovery of this important sector.”