The Australian, state and territory governments share an objective of sustainable management of forests through integrating environmental, economic and community values and uses.
The Australian Government plays an important role in working with the state and territory governments (that have primary responsibility for forest management) and the forest industries on developing national forest policy.
Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) have been negotiated between the Australian Government and the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. RFAs are 20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests. They are designed to provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and achieve conservation outcomes.
With a strong policy framework in place, government and industry are now looking to address emerging issues impacting on the future sustainability of Australia's forest industries, which contribute $23.7 billion of economic turnover each year.
The Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced on 12 September 2017 that the Australian Government would “develop a new government plan that will underpin growth in the renewable timber and wood-fibre industry”. The work of the Australian Government established Forest Industry Advisory Council and its report Transforming Australia’s forest products industry will be considered in developing the plan.
Issues being considered include:
- value adding to forest and wood resources
- increasing wood supply volumes
- improving competiveness
- maintaining and improving export markets
- restricting the imports of illegally logged timber
- continuous improvement in sustainable forest management
- the role of wood in bioenergy and bioproduct production.