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Central Highlands Regional Forest Agreement

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Media Release John Anderson DPIE98/38 March 27 1998


The Federal Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, John Anderson, today welcomed the Centra] Highlands Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) as a balanced result for native forest industries and conservation of forests in the region.

“The RFA while delivering certainty for economic and jobs growth in the region, enhances the conservation of forests with the addition of 116,000 hectares to conservation reserves.” Mr Anderson said.

“Forest-based industries can now plan ahead with greater certainty, attract investment, and develop new export and domestic markets. The agreement facilitates value adding, marketing and product development in the wood and wood products industries and removes Commonwealth controls on woodchip exports.

“With 20 years’ certainty in access to resources, the hardwood sawntimber industry in particular can continue to expand and explore value adding activities, with the potential to contribute up to an additional 320 jobs and an additional estimated $97 million per year to

the Victorian economy by 2005-6.

“Economic and social assessments for the RFA suggest the flow on effects of increased household expenditure will bring major benefits for local communities.” Mr Anderson said.

Mr Anderson said the Commonwealth’s commitment to facilitating competitive and innovative forest industries was reflected in the agreement to develop a joint Commonwealth-Victorian Hardwood Timber Industry Development and Restructuring program. $27.6 million is available to implement the program across all RFA regions in Victoria.

“This will assist industry in repositioning itself into higher value domestic and export markets,” Mr Anderson said.

“The RFA removes Commonwealth controls on woodchips, and also provides regional forest based industries with enhanced certainty through legally binding provisions within the agreement.

“It commits Victoria to supplying as a minimum the current licensed volume of D + sawlogs (345,000 cubic metres per annum) for the next 20 years from the Central Highlands Forest Management areas.”

Media contact: Robert Haynes: (02) 6277 7520