Media Release – Tuesday 28 July 2020

The South Australian Labor Shadow Cabinet has committed to work with the Green Triangle forestry sector to realise new investment and growth opportunities following a Limestone Coast fact finding mission.

Party leader Peter Malinauskas, Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Environment and Water Susan Close, Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan and Limestone Coast-based Shadow Forestry Minister Clare Scriven yesterday met with key forest industry leaders at a roundtable session hosted by the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub following a local forest and mill tour.

Participants included representation from the full breadth of the supply chain including nursery, forest, silviculture, harvest and haulage and milling.

“Today made it clear that Mount Gambier is the nation’s forestry epicentre and the opposition have walked away with a strong realisation of the opportunities that lay ahead, committing to work on a plan for the future,” GTFIH acting chair Ian McDonnell said.

He noted that the meeting highlighted the Hub’s long-term strategic objectives, which aim to increase the plantation estate by up to 200 million trees to meet growing domestic demand in coming decades.

“Achieving this plan means access to water – it is the lever to enable all growth across the Green Triangle,” Mr McDonnell said.

“The Hub presented its proposal for a water plan which will explore forestry water use and identify realistic strategies to stop water wastage by utilising water from the drainage network.

“There is more than 110 gigalitres of water that flows to the sea from the Lower Limestone Coast drain network which could support the expansion of the plantation estate and other important agricultural sectors such as vignerons, dairy farmers and potato growers who are all also facing barriers to water access. This water can also be used to support groundwater dependent ecosystems.

“The party were keen to learn of this innovative work and other proposals which our industry has earmarked to future proof its operations. It further highlighted the invaluable role of Forest Research Mount Gambier which is undertaking world-leading research into how to future-proof the sector.”

Discussion also explored opportunities for greater cross border harmonisation, particularly in fire management and training, freight movements and communication.

“The party lent their support to aid our sector to navigate the current COVID cross border issues which have greatly impaired business, like many other sectors, at this time,” Mr McDonnell said.

“It was well understood that this region is unique given the supply chain dependence on either side of the border, highlighting the need for a long-term strategic approach to ensure business continuity.”

Taking a closer look at the Green Triangle forest and timber sector are Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan, Shadow Forestry Minister Clare Scriven, Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Environment and Water Susan Close, host NF McDonnell and Sons director and Acting GTFIH chair Ian McDonnell and Party Leader Peter Malinauskas.