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Federal Government backs students who are backing themselves.

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February 21, 2002

Federal Government backs students who are backing themselves

An innovative approach to create job opportunities in the manufacture of furniture from native timber has received a significant boost from a joint Federal/State Government programme, the Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker said today.

The Australian Native Hardwoods Furniture Design Centre will be provided with the support needed to market high quality furniture for the domestic and overseas market, following the announcement of $49,500 in funding.

The funding has been jointly announced by the Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Ian Macdonald, and the NSW Minister for Forestry, Kim Yeadon.

Mr Hartsuyker said the funding recognised the job opportunities which exist in the native hardwood furniture sector.

“The beauty of manufacturing furniture from native hardwoods is the value adding which occurs from the raw timber product.

“This funding will allow furniture designers to market the designs that they will pilot manufacture on their own premises.”

The furniture design centre has adopted a highly innovative approach in assisting designers get their furniture to the world.

Nineteen graduates and students of the furniture design course at TAFE, as well as seven other investors from the community, are backing the designers' ability to make commercially viable furniture designs by forming their own company.

Each shareholder is contributing $2000 to establish the company, which will manage the Centre and provide business development, marketing support and technical services to designers. A Board of Directors involving a representative of the graduates, a design teacher, and local business leaders is overseeing the establishment of the Centre at a Coffs Harbour City Council building in Park Avenue.

Mr Hartsuyker said this latest Government funding had been made through the Native Timber Industry Marketing and Development Fund which is a jointly funded scheme between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments.

“The Federal Government recognises the commitment the students and graduates are making to the promotion of native hardwood timbers, furniture design and marketing,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“I know the Federal Minister, Ian Macdonald, was impressed with the quality of the work carried out by the students when visited the University campus last year.

“There is significant potential in furniture manufacturing on the North Coast and the Native Hardwoods Furniture Design Centre now has the opportunity to become self sustainable.”

Chairman of the Centre, Richard Kelloway, said the TAFE students were already being recognised for the quality of their work.

“Graduates and students are receiving very high national and international acclaim for their work. The grant will help them realise the enormous potential in their designs,” Mr Kelloway said.

Executive Director of the Coffs Harbour Education Campus, Warren Grimshaw, who is an advisor to the company Board, welcomed this latest funding.

“It is the outcome of much hard work by the Steering Committee and the North Coast Institute of TAFE. This is a great initiative,” Mr Grimshaw said.

The latest funding announcement follows on from a previous commitment from the Federal Government which allocated $77,495 towards marketing and networking the region's existing furniture industry, and to convert it to native hardwood furniture production.

END Caption Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, checks out an innovative lectern which folds up. The lectern was built by Chris Murray from the Coffs Harbour Furniture Design School.

For more information please contact media adviser, Greg Pierce, on 66 52 6233.