Australia's unique forests provide a sustainable resource base for the forestry sector. Australian, state and territory governments share an objective of an industry based on the sustainable management of forests to integrate environmental, commercial and community values and uses.
The Australian Government plays an important role in working with the state and territory governments (which are primarily responsible for forest management) and the forest industries on developing forest policy.
This partnership approach between governments and the industry is reflected through major national policy initiatives such as the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement (NFPS) and the Plantations for Australia: the 2020 Vision. The Plantations 2020 Vision aims to promote the expansion of Australia's plantation estate. More recently, the passage of legislation to outlaw the trade of illegally harvested timber involved extensive consultation with state and territory governments and industry.
Following on from the NFPS, Australia has spent more than fifteen years developing, implementing and reviewing Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) which aim to achieve a balance between conservation and production in native forests, and provide security for the industry.
With a strong policy framework in place, government and industry continue to address issues affecting the viability and sustainability of Australia's forest industries. The industry contributes over $22 billion of economic turnover each year and employs over 66 000 people.
Statistical information on Australia's forests and forest industry is published by ABARES in the five-yearly State of the Forests Reports and in Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics which is published twice each year.