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Thursday, 12 August 2021
Page: 8172

Forest Industry

Ms SHARKIE (Mayo) (14:20): My question is to the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia. Minister, in 2018, the government released its billion trees for jobs and growth plan. Will the minister please advise the House how many trees have been planted to date?

Mr LITTLEPROUD (MaranoaMinister for Agriculture and Northern Australia and Deputy Leader of the National Party) (14:20): I thank the member for her question and for her interest. I understand the proud history of the timber industry, particularly on King Island, which she represents, and the challenges it has also faced. We did announce our ambition to go towards a billion trees. One of the biggest challenges that we have found subsequent to that has been the Black Summer events that have in fact displaced much of the industry. We are now making sure that we plan strategically to support with practical measures those areas that were significantly impacted. That's why our forestry hubs are being created. We are listening to industry about how we achieve that.

We are also working with farmers. I'm proud to say that the NFF has also stood up and said they wish to be part of this and part of the solution of how we continue to expand the timber industry. We're now working as quickly as we can with local communities and with the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, which used to be the bushfire agency—

The SPEAKER: I will interrupt. The minister doesn't need to resume his seat. The question was short and specific, and the minister needs to come to the specific part of the question.

Mr LITTLEPROUD: I am, because the reality was that that whole program was displaced because of the Black Summer events. It's as simple as that.