House debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Constituency Statements

Forestry and Pulp and Paper Industries; Pulp and Paper Industries

9:51 am

Photo of Dick AdamsDick Adams (Lyons, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to say a few words about the future of the forestry and the pulp and paper industries. There have been a number of discussions lately, including within the federal government’s Pulp and Industry Strategy Group. This was the first time stakeholder leaders of this sector had met to review and discuss the issues facing the industry and to develop a strategic plan for the future with the support of government.

The CFMEU FFDP was the essential driver behind the formation of the strategy group and was a key participant in the process. When the national secretary of the CFMEU, Michael O’Connor, addressed the Forest Futures Conference last October, he saw the group as a turning point for the industry. I agree with him. He pointed out that the key to developing a world-class industry is by boosting investment and innovation through research and development. This was echoed by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Kim Carr, who said that industry and government need to work together to create operating environments where it makes good business sense for international firms to invest in Australia. It is important to overcome the challenges facing the industry, and this depends on the stakeholders continuing to unite for the long term to achieve this goal.

Another innovation was developed through a positive relationship between the CFMEU and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, who has convinced the Green Building Council of Australia to adopt a certification scheme that will allow the Australian timber industry to compete for ‘green rated’ building projects. We need to ensure that there is job security for workers in this industry, which will necessitate ongoing scrutiny of the Green Building Council to ensure its accountability to the Australian community.

This government is also very keen to prevent illegal logging and the importation of illegal timber in the form of wooden furniture, paper and paper board, wood based panels, saw wood, doors and mouldings—all of which, when they come from unsustainable forest practices in other parts of the world, harm workers’ jobs in the Australian forest industry. So there are many good changes going on in the industry, and I am proud that this government is part of the innovative ways that the industry is beginning to adopt in order to be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.