Mr PASIN (Barker) (13:56): I rise today in support of the Australian forest industry, which is a foundational industry in the Limestone Coast in my electorate of Barker. It employs 7,500 people across the sector. The industry contributes $2.6 billion to the South Australian economy and $23.7 billion nationally. The sector has been turbocharged, of course, by the supports our government has put in place for the runaway success that has been the HomeBuilder program. Many in this place, however, might not know that Australia is a net timber importer. We import timber valued at $6 billion, while we export timber valued at $4 billion. However, the domestic forest industry supplies around 80 per cent of the timber used in Australian residential construction.
While domestic demand for timber is strong and it has been strong for some time, our local mills are struggling to obtain the raw product they need. While government policy is focused on putting more trees in the ground, that’s the long-term solution; the supply constraints exist in the short term. The House standing committee on agriculture recently considered this problem. The committee’s inquiry into timber supply constraints in the Australian plantation sector has recommended that the federal government support the development of an industry-led code of conduct. I support this industry-led code of conduct because it will give processors an even playing field, because, after all, Aussie logs need to be used to support Aussie jobs.