Programme 1.3 Forestry industry

​Programme objective

  • foster and enable productive, profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable Australian forest and forest products industries.

Programme description

We supported the ecologically sustainable management of Australia's forests by administering 20-year regional forest agreements (RFAs) between the Australian Government and four states: New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania.

We were also responsible for national and international measures to combat illegal logging and its associated trade. The department worked closely with Australia's forest and forest products industries and supported international engagement to promote sustainable forest management.

More information is available on the department's website.

Key performance indicators

Table 4 Programme 1.3—Forestry industry—key performance indicators
Key performance indicator2013–14 targetPerformance
2013–142012–132011–12
Engage peak industry bodies through the Forest and Wood Products Council and state and territory departments through the Forestry and Forest Products Committee2 meetingsNot metMet-
Engage states on intent and performance of Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs) monitoring, compliance and review to ensure continued effectiveness in sustaining Australian forests and the forest products industriesReports tabled in the Parliament for Victoria and New South WalesPartially metNot met-
Process in place to combat illegally logged timber entering the Australian marketDevelop subordinate legislationMetMet-
All levy funds paid to Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA)100%MetMetMet
Engage with FWPA to ensure compliance with the Statutory Funding Agreement (SFA) and relevant legislation and to discuss industry activitiesTwo meetingsMetMet-
Timely finalisation of a new SFAImplement new SFAMetMet-
Integrated scientific and economic research–underpinning research, advice, forecast, projects, products and data services meet stakeholder expectations and are delivered within agreed timelines and in line with international research standards85%MetMet-

Achievements

Supporting the Tasmanian forest industry

We continued to work with the Department of the Environment to support Government decisions for the Tasmanian forest industry. Following the federal election, the department progressed the Government's commitments to not support further forest lock-ups and to establish 20-year rolling lives for the RFAs, starting with Tasmania.

Monitoring forest contractor exit programmes

We implemented a monitoring and compliance programme for the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Exit Assistance Programme and the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement Contractors Voluntary Exit Grants Programme. Monitoring and compliance activities will run until the funding deeds for the programmes expire in 2016 and 2022, respectively.

Managing regional forest agreements

We prepared to formally commence the third five-yearly review of the Tasmania RFA, and finalised a review of the first and second five-year periods of the Western Australia RFA. A report by an independent reviewer was tabled in the Australian Parliament in March 2014. The Australian and Western Australian governments are preparing a joint response to the recommendations.

Joint government responses to the independent reviewer's reports for the New South Wales and Victoria reviews were also progressed.

The department's target for this key performance indicator was 'partially met' in 2013-14.

Action on illegal logging

Following the commencement of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012 and the registration of the Illegal Logging Prohibition Amendment Regulation 2013, we worked with government, industry and non-government bodies to ensure readiness for the new legislative requirements.

The Regulation will require importers of regulated timber products and domestic processors of raw logs to undertake due diligence from 30 November 2014 to minimise the risk of illegally logged timber entering or being processed in Australia. The development of the Regulation was supported by expert advice, industry research and ABARES analysis of trade and statistics.

In addition to working with domestic stakeholders, we worked with international stakeholders to help them understand the obligations under Australia's illegal logging laws. This included meetings with governments and businesses in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Canada and Chile.

We also worked with key trading partners and state governments to develop country and state-specific guidelines for importers and domestic processors. We released new factsheets and web content in May 2014 to help importers and processors comply with the new requirements.

More information is available on the department's website.

International engagement

Australia hosted the 23rd Montréal Process Working Group Meeting in July 2013. The Montréal Process develops and revises criteria and indicators for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests. Australia uses these criteria and indicators to meet international and domestic forest reporting commitments.

We chaired a working group for the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade, formulating the expert group's work plan, and attended the 25th session of the Asia–Pacific Forestry Commission.

Other engagements included bilateral discussions with Malaysia, China, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Regional capacity-building

Phase Two of the Asia–Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Programme was finalised in 2013-14. Considerable progress was also made with the Illegal Logging: Regional Capacity Building Partnership, with completion of the $6 million Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade 2 component.

Four projects were approved for implementation through the $2 million International Tropical Timber Organization component of the partnership. All funding has now been spent.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade conducted a final assessment of both programmes, and found they had met the requirements for delivery of overseas development assistance.

Scientific and economic research

Releasing Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013

The department, through ABARES, worked with all states and territories to complete Australia's State of the Forests Report 2013, which was released in March 2014. The report uses an international framework to report on Australia's forests, and meets the Regional Forests Agreement Act 2002 requirement of being a comprehensive and publicly available source of information for national and regional monitoring and reporting on all of Australia's forests.

The report presents data on a variety of topics, including the area of forests, biodiversity, production of wood and non-wood forest products, fire and forest health, soil and water management, carbon stocks and sequestration, employment in forestry industries, forest-related research, the Indigenous forest estate, social perceptions of forests, and the legal and institutional framework for forest management. As the fourth in a series of five-yearly reports, the report also presents information on changes over time.

The report is available on the ABARES website.

Challenges

A new forestry industry advisory council

We progressed the Government's commitment to create a new industry advisory council for the forestry sector by modifying the terms of reference and membership of the existing Forest and Wood Products Council.

The Council did not meet in 2013-14 and, as a result the department's target for its key performance indicator was 'not met'.

Asia–Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Programme

The completion of two projects under Phase 2 of the Asia–Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Programme required considerable intervention by the department. Both project agreements required renegotiation part way through their implementation and were extended beyond their original completion dates.

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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