Premier Peter Malinauskas announced the State Government would invest $19m to help grow and develop South Australia’s forest and timber industries.
The Premier made the announcement at the OneFortyOne plantation south-west of Tarpeena during the Country Cabinet visit last week.
The $19m investment is part of the State Government’s investment of more than $130m in the Limestone Coast.
The funding will go towards various measures, including $15m for a new Centre for Excellence to secure a long-term Forestry Research and Development capability in Mount Gambier.
The remaining funds include $2m to develop a Forest Products Domestic Manufacturing and Infrastructure Masterplan and $2m to replace fire towers with new technologies.
Additional measures include the development of the Trees on Farms initiative, supporting and expanding the role of the Forest Industries Advisory Council and investigating feasibility of incentive to ensure arrangements favour local processors who may be locked out of contracts with larger forest growers.
“These are not just investments for the industry now, but projects that will deliver benefits to the future of our industry and community for years to come,” Premier Malinauskas said.
“We know the Limestone Coast has some extraordinary economic potential associated with it and I think that is particularly represented through the forestry industry.”
Premier Malinauskas said the forestry industry was diverse in its nature, employing people through a range of skillsets and different components of the industry.
“We know that fibre is being used in increasingly innovative and productive ways and we know the demand for fibre is only going to grow in the long-term,” he said.
“And this part of our nation has the capacity to not just grow the fibre but also grow an industry into the future.”
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven said she was “delighted” about the investment and to see it come to fruition was “really exciting”.
“I think it’s important economically and it’s a real focus that this is an industry that’s got a very strong future, people are becoming more and more aware of the carbon benefits of the forestry industry,” Minister Scriven said.
“And of course we want to ensure that our young people who are interested in environmental careers see forestry as one of the green industries that holds a very secure and positive future for them.”
Minister Scriven said forest industries were among the most significant contributors to the state’s economy and these investments would help ensure they continued to grow.
“I know these commitments will support growth in our housing, skills and jobs for our state, and represent important investments into our state’s ongoing prosperity,” she said.