Funding boost for forest hub

The South West Forestry Hub was recently provided with an extra boost by the Federal Government following a number of announcements made by Federal Forestry Minister Senator Richard Colbeck.

Speaking after a tour of the South West Forestry Hub, Mr Colbeck said the initial commitment of $250,000 for each pilot forestry hub would be expanded to a four-year commitment of $250,000 per year.

He also signalled the South West would host a new node of the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, with a $2 million commitment, which would need to be matched by state government and industry funding.

The latest commitments, were warmly welcomed by the Forest Industries Federation of WA, following the earlier announcement for the four pilot forestry hubs including the South West. 

FIFWA acting chief executive Matt Granger said the announcements would provide the hub with a platform to attract third-party investment to get more trees in the ground. 

"This longer-term funding commitment will enable the South West Forestry Hub to make real progress on growing the plantation estate and manufacturing innovative new timber products," he said.

"It also builds a solid foundation for attracting new investment into innovative wood products manufacturing.

"The state and the industry need to double the area of land under softwood plantations to more than 80,000 hectares, if we are to meet the sustainable housing needs of our community."

"We also need to boost the recovery of valuable products from our sustainably managed forest estate."

Forrest MP Nola Marino said the announcements were important for the area. 

"This announcement will mean more jobs as the industry expands and will add hugely to our regional economy," she said. 

"I have been working with Assistant Minister Colbeck to establish this hub in the South West and I look forward to watching it grow and continuing to be an important economic benefit for the South West."