The Morrison Government will back the agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries with a new multi-million dollar plan to create jobs, grow regional centres and back our farmers.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin says said the Limestone Coast’s future economic and jobs growth relies on these vital sectors remaining strong.

“We have a plan to continue growing agriculture, fisheries and forestry that will help the sector hit $100 billion farm gate output by 2030,” Mr Pasin said.

“The forestry sector indirectly employs over 10,000 people in South Australia contributing $2.8 billion to the State’s economy. Almost 7,500 of these jobs are in Barker,” said Mr Pasin.

The Morrison Government’s plan for growing agriculture, fisheries and forestry will:

• Tackle barriers to growth and productivity;

• Provide the water needed for growth and drought-proofing;

• Tackle intergenerational land transfer and encourage new farmers;

• Expand exports and improve market access; and

• Get the balance right for our fisheries and forestry industries.

To make this plan a reality for our forestry industry, the Morrison Government has announced $500 million of new concessional loans to unlock the potential of our forestry industry.

A re-elected Morrison Government will support the delivery of 1 billion new plantation trees through a new concessional loan product under the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC).

The support is expected to encourage foreign and domestic investment in this slow-growing, long-term and sustainable crop at a time when demand is increasing and the domestic resource is stagnating.

Without Government support for the purchase of the land (the largest cost), there will continue to be little increase in Australia’s total plantation estate.

It’s anticipated that a $500 million new capital investment could result in up to 150,000 hectares of new plantations – vital to meeting future demand for forest products.

Loans will be prioritised for new plantation development that delivers a sustainable resource and over time will support the growth of regional economies and communities.

“This builds on our Government’s $20 million National Forest Industries Plan is set to turbocharge Australia’s renewable timber and wood fibre industry,” Mr Pasin said.

“It’s crucial to the industry’s aspirational goal of tripling economic value by 2050 and the Morrison Government will deliver the plan in full,” Mr Pasin said.

The Government has been working with industry, governments and communities to deliver pilot Regional Forestry Hubs, which is already well underway in the Green Triangle.

“The Hubs will add value to existing and new forest resources. They will seek new processing opportunities and analyse inefficiencies, limitations or constraints to growth within the forest industries in each region,” Mr Pasin said.

A re-elected Morrison Government will also work with industry and farming groups to develop a Farm Forestry Strategy. The aim is to transform farm forestry as a commercial, timber-supplying enterprise by investigating aggregation tools, data needs, mapping and business models and navigating the challenges of changing land use.

“Farm forestry has the potential to provide additional revenue from timber and carbon storage. Other benefits include bundling forestry and landscape services, supporting animal husbandry and lowering erosion and water evaporation,” Mr Pasin said.

“The Morrison Government supports the industry, but with the long growing time for trees we need to assess any resource access or supply chain constraints in the short term,” said Mr Pasin.

“That’s why a re-elected Morrison Government will ask the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources to conduct an inquiry into short-term timber supply chain constraints in the national plantation sector.”

“Our Government is backing jobs in Australia’s growing forestry industry.”

“Only a re-elected Morrison Government will continue to create jobs and support these vital industries through our plan for a stronger economy,” Mr Pasin said.