21 March 2021

NSW Labor is using the International Day of Forests today to call for a Parliamentary public inquiry into the long-term future of the NSW forest and timber industry.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully said; “The theme of International Day of Forests for 2021 is ‘Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being'."
 
“The day recognises the crucial role of forests in not only addressing climate change and biodiversity, but in producing goods and services for sustainable development and providing thousands of jobs in New South Wales," Mr Scully said.
 
“This is very much the basis for my call for a Parliamentary public inquiry for the NSW forestry and timber industry."
 
Over the last month, case after case has emerged where timber supplies are running out, pushing up the price of new houses, delaying construction, and costing jobs.
 
Deputy Premier John Barilaro recently told a NSW Budget estimates hearing on 26 February 2021 that “there will be a struggle with supply” and that New South Wales is facing a “cliff edge moment” where timber supply would run out.
 
Mr Scully has been pushing for a Parliamentary public inquiry to start so the timber supply problems can be sorted out while providing a long-term sustainable future for the state’s forestry and timber industry.
 
“The inquiry I have proposed will make sure we have a better understanding of hardwood and softwood timber supply and demand; transparent reporting of timber supply; and opportunities for the timber and forestry products industry, and timber-dependent communities," he said.
 
“A parliamentary inquiry will give some hope and direction to the workers in the forestry industry, mill owners and operators, and timber-dependent communities across NSW while also recognising that our forest estate provides and important environmental and recreational role.
 
“The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government wasted 12 months trying to flog-off Forestry Corporation instead of working on a plan for the future which grows our forestry estate.
 
“Now we are all paying for the cost of inaction with higher house prices, construction delays and lost jobs because this 10-year old Government has just run out of ideas."
 
Mr Scully said there has not been a major review of, or inquiry into, the NSW forestry and timber industry for at least 20 years.
 
“Much has changed in the industry in this time and it is timely that we examine the supply and value chains for the industry and provide for a sustainable and responsibly managed forestry estate for the future," he added.