Farm forestry call

MEETING IN THE MOUNT: Primary Producers chief executive Caroline Roads met with Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham and South Australian Forest Products Association chief executive Nathan Paine in Mount Gambier this week.

Charlotte Varcoe

A LOSS of more than 20,000 hectares of forestry within the South East has been discussed further with industry leaders following a meeting with the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Minister David Basham met with a number of forestry and agricultural leaders to further discuss issues occurring throughout the South East.

South Australian Forest Products Association chief executive Nathan Paine said the industry still needed to desperately plant more trees within the region following the significant loss of the hectares due to ongoing water allocation issues.

“The cause of this loss in trees was down to the water allocation plan that was put in place some time ago,” Mr Paine said.

“We are working with a number of commodity groups and the Landscape Board to look at making sure we have the right policies in place and get the trees in the ground.”

He said the South East continues to contribute 35 per cent of the nation’s structurazl timber as well as 25 per cent of Australia’s particle board and a further 60 per cent of the nation’s agricultural posts and poles.

“Forestry is a vital and critical industry across the nation and due to this we need trees in the ground,” Mr Paine said.

The discussion comes following Mr Basham supporting a recent initiative taken up by the forestry industry, which supports farmers growing trees on their land.

The initiative looked to expand the farm forestry sector to increase the creation of future wood and fibre supplies while also strengthening links between farmers and the forestry industry.

“As part of this initiative we are looking at working with industry and the Federal Government to help farmers explore opportunities for expanding farm forestry on their properties,” Mr Basham said.

“Farm forestry is a win-win situation where we can increase our state’s forestry resources while giving our farmers an extra revenue stream which will support both industries to grow and create jobs.”