11 May 2020

The Federal Government is supporting the forestry industry with $15 million for salvage log transport that is critical to assisting the sector to get back on its feet following the devastating bushfires.

The Forestry Transport Assistance will ensure the forestry industry can continue to source valuable wood resources that are essential to operations and support thousands of jobs in our regional communities.

The assistance will be targeted at the worst hit regions in New South Wales and Victoria, with funding to be available from July for one year.

The forest industry in New South Wales was devastated by the bushfires, with around 24 per cent of its commercial plantations and 47 per cent of its productive public native forest damaged by fires, with Tumut and Tumbarumba particularly hard hit.

Victoria’s forestry industry was also devastated, particularly in the North East and East Gippsland regions, with the fire burning 2.4 per cent of its commercial plantations and 29 per cent of it’s productive public native forest.

More than 42,000 Australians work in the forestry industry across New South Wales and Victoria, with an estimated additional 100,000 indirectly employed, especially across our regional communities.

But this industry has a history of resilience in times of extraordinary challenges such as this; the industry is committed to rebuilding and our Government will be there every step of the way.

This transport assistance will ensure forestry businesses can deal with the unexpected extra costs associated with hauling wood resources from longer distances, with a typical haul of around 100km now being as far as 400 km.

Without this assistance, many businesses would collapse, jobs would be lost and salvageable logs would be left to rot. With this support, we will ensure that the timber industry can rebuild, jobs will be protected, timber mills will continue to have supply and we can secure access to Australian timber products.

The transport assistance builds on support we are already providing to the forestry industry, including the Small Business Recovery Grants of up to $50,000, the Emergency Bushfire Primary Industries Grant scheme of up to $75,000, concessional loans and amendments to the Emissions Reductions Fund.

There is more work to be done to ensure this critical sector has a strong future, and we are committed to supporting the industry to find opportunities that ensure it is well positioned for long-term recovery.