Wednesday 14 April 2021

Hub hosts roundtable with Premier Marshall

New domestic manufacturing opportunities, optimising wood flow and commitments to research and development headlined the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub briefing with SA Premier Steven Marshall yesterday.

Hub chair Ian McDonnell led an industry roundtable with the Premier featuring representation from the full breadth of the supply and supported by local parliamentarians Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride.

“The Premier has walked away with the strong realisation that the Green Triangle is the powerhouse of Australia’s softwood timber sector and has the capacity and desire to grow, creating more domestic value-add and new job opportunities,” Mr McDonnell said.

“We sought a commitment from the State Government that it will support our sector as we embark on $300 million of new capital investment, expanding and diversifying our manufacturing base with goals of getting more trees in the ground to expand the fibre base.

“Domestic fibre demand is predicted to quadruple by 2050 which opens huge opportunities for the Green Triangle to grow and diversify its existing operations. The meeting was a chance to brief the Premier on how we plan to meet this supply gap, by optimising existing wood flow and essentially making more from less.

“He was also briefed on our extensive research into better understanding tree water use which will assist the State Government in the upcoming review of the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan, to ensure the most up to date science and data on tree water use supports the process. Meanwhile the Premier was very receptive to our plans to explore how to better utilise existing water supply, harnessing drainage water for environmental and industry gain in a partnership with other south-east primary producers.

“Overall, the Premier was particularly pleased to see our forest and timber sector actively collaborating on a united strategic vision, investing heavily in research and development through NIFPI (National Institute for Forest Products Innovation), the University of South Australia and its partners to future proof our businesses and further enable its workforce.”

Mr McDonnell said the session was an opportunity to introduce the Green Triangle Fire Alliance, a subcommittee of the Hub, which is building a strategic plan for future forest fire management, focused on cross border harmonisation and decreasing the industry’s exposure to risk from fire.

“The State Government recognise the invaluable contribution our 300 forest firefighters play in protecting our communities with the Premier indicating he is keen to work with our members to understand how we can better detect and suppress fire, protecting our communities and assets earlier,” he said.

“The Green Triangle is leading the way with the use of innovations, such as our FireHawk camera trial, and we look forward to working with the Premier and his team as we advance on the next stage of this important trial which has the potential to revolutionise forest fire detection.”

GTFIH members with Premier Stephen Marshall, Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride following Tuesday’s roundtable session.