15 July 2020

Victoria’s forestry industry is set to benefit from $2 million of new research though the establishment of a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) centre in Gippsland.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said the investment would provide a major boost to the forestry industry and the jobs it supports in the Gippsland region.

“Funding a centre in Gippsland will be important in the recovery from the devastating bushfires and is a further commitment to the native forestry industry in Victoria,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“The centre will play a vital role in supporting cutting-edge research, fostering collaboration, boosting innovation, increasing profitability, growing the market and securing Gippsland’s role in driving forestry research in Australia.

“This investment will grow Australia’s forest and forest products industry by supporting innovation in the forest products sector in areas such as forest management, timber processing, wood fibre recovery, value adding, advanced manufacturing and the bio-economy.

“The Morrison Government is providing $2 million and will be matched by the Victorian Government, and will be supported with additional funding and in‑kind contributions by industry and research agencies.

“The Morrison Government has always supported the renewable, sustainable native forestry industry in Victoria and our policy for forestry is to ensure both strong plantation and native forest sectors.

“We continue to call on the Andrew’s Government to overturn their devastating unilateral decision to shut down the native forestry industry in Victoria by 2030 and back the industry, the workers and the regional communities the industry supports.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said after a difficult first half of the year, the announcement was some positive news for Gippsland.

“Our region has battled drought, bushfires and the economic fallout of the coronavirus, and these challenges have only compounded the devastating impacts of the Andrews’ Government’s decision to shut down our timber industry,” Minister Chester said.

“This announcement demonstrates the Federal Government’s support for a sustainable and economically viable native timber industry here in Gippsland, and the flow on benefits that creates in the form of jobs and thriving local communities.

“Gippslanders are a resilient bunch and we will continue to work together with the support of government to build back better than ever.”

This funding is a core part of the implementation of the Australian Government’s $20 million National Forest Industries Plan, which includes establishing nine Regional Forestry Hubs across Australia, reducing barriers to forestry expansion and developing a farm forestry strategy.

The Gippsland centre of NIFPI will complement the existing centres in Launceston, Tasmania, and Mount Gambier, South Australia.