Queensland’s native timber advisory panel has met for the first time as part of a long-term plan for the state’s $3.8 billion timber industry.
The panel will be chaired by Alan Feely and is comprised of stakeholders including First Nations people, representatives from the conservation sector, unions and native timber industry.
It will consider the government’s plan for native forestry on land that are both under state and private ownership, as well as conservation outcomes, economic impacts and opportunities for Queensland’s regional communities.
Mark Furner, Queensland’s agricultural industry development and fisheries minister, published a statement on Friday saying the panel would help to deliver a ‘long-term sustainable future’ for the native timber industry. He added that achieving a balance between environmental interests and jobs was important to this end.
“The timber industry is key to Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, employing 8,800 people and injecting $3.8 billion into the economy every year,” Furner said.
“The broad representation [of panel members] ensures that all views are heard and fully understood.”
Panel members include Professor Brendan Mackey (Griffith University), Lauren Hahn (National Parks Association of Queensland), Laura Gowdie (Australian Workers Union), Leann Wilson (Regional Economic Solutions, Mick Stephens (Timber Queensland), John McNamara (Parkside Group), Raymond ‘Curly’ Tatnell (DTM Timber), Sean Ryan (Private Forestry Service Queensland, Virginia Young (Strategic Directions) and Dr Aila Keto (Australian Rainforest Conservation Society).
Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders noted that work of the panel was the next stage of the government’s native timber action plan. For the Wide Bay-Burnett region the plan will see hardwood timber harvesting extended for another two years up to 2026.
“That has secured the employment of 500 Maryborough and Wide Bay locals working in the industry,” Saunders said.
The government’s native timber action plan has also resulted in the termination of an unsuccessful hardwood plantation program, which was a state partnership with HQPlantations. Consequently, fixed-term competitive permits for forestry in the Western hardwoods region will replace ‘rolling-term’ permits by 2034 .
A study that is due by the end of 2021 will help the panel identify sustainable options for future timber supply, Furner added.