Programme 1.3: Forestry industry

​​Programme objective

This programme’s objective in 2014–15 was to:

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

Programme description

We support the ecologically sustainable management of Australia’s forests through the administration of 20-year regional forest agreements (RFAs) between the Australian Government and four states: New South Wales; Victoria; Western Australia; and Tasmania.

We are also responsible for national and international measures to combat illegal logging and its associated trade. The department works with Australia’s forestry and forest products industries and supports international engagement to promote sustainable forest management.

More information is available on the department's website.​​​ ​​​ ​​​

Table 4 Programme 1.3—Forestry industry—key performance indicators
Key performance indicator2014–15 targetPerformance
Effective policies, programmes and regulations that contribute to enhanced productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainabilityAccurate and timely advice provided aMet
Engage peak industry bodies through the Forest and Wood Products Council (operating as Forest Industry Advisory Council) and state and territory departments through the Forestry and Forest Products Committee2 meetingsMetNot metMet
Engage states on intent and performance of Regional Forest Agreements (RFA) monitoring, compliance and review to ensure continued effectiveness in sustaining Australian forests and the forest products industriesReports tabled in Parliament for Tasmania, Victoria and Western AustraliaPartially met​Partially metNot met
Engage RFA states through bilateral negotiation processes to develop, agree and finalise extended RFAsBilateral negotiations with RFA states on RFA extensions aMet
​Implement and maintain an effective policy and regulatory framework to administer the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act 2012Policy and regulatory regime in operationMetMetMet
Effective engagement with international stakeholders to promote Australia’s forest policiesSign new memorandums of understanding with Papua New Guinea and Indonesia aPartially met
All levy funds paid to Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA)100%MetMetMet
Engage with FWPA to ensure compliance with the statutory funding agreement and relevant legislation and to discuss industry activities2 meetingsMetMetMet
Underpinning research, advice, forecast, projects, products and data services meet stakeholder expectations, and are delivered within agreed timelines85% bMetMetMet
a New performance indicator. b Client satisfaction as measured by an annual survey of ABARES clients.


Regional forest agreements

We made solid progress on the review of RFAs. After agreeing to a requested delay to the start of the third five–yearly review of the Tasmanian RFA, because of overlapping public consultation processes, the review commenced in April 2015. The review is the catalyst for governments to agree to a process for extending their RFAs in line with the Australian Government’s commitments. An extended RFA is expected to be in place in late 2015–16.

We tabled joint Australian–state government responses to the independent reviewer reports on the combined first and second five-yearly reviews of the Victorian and Western Australian RFAs. We met officials from those states to commence negotiations on the third reviews of their RFAs, which are expected to commence in 2015–16.

In October 2014, we tabled the joint government response to the independent reviewer’s report on the first five-yearly review of the New South Wales RFAs. Discussions are underway on a combined second and third five-yearly review, which is expected to commence in 2015–16.

The department’s target for this key performance indicator was ‘partially met’ in 2014–15.

Supporting forest industries

Growing a competitive Tasmanian forest industry

As part of the government’s Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania, we consulted industry on the best ways to achieve a competitive and sustainable forest industry that makes a strong contribution to the state’s economy.

We met stakeholders from government, industry associations and professional bodies, timber processors, special species timber representatives, forest managers, private forest owners, service providers and furniture makers.

We will continue to work with the Tasmanian Government and industry to promote investment, jobs growth and sustainable use of forests.

Forest Industry Advisory Council

We supported the establishment of the Australian Government’s Forest Industry Advisory Council (FIAC). The FIAC met four times in 2014–15 to provide advice to the minister on matters affecting the forest industry.

In March 2015, the FIAC released a strategic directions issues paper as part of the development of a discussion paper on the challenges and opportunities for Australia’s forest products sector over the coming decades.

Action on illegal logging

The Illegal Logging Prohibition Regulation 2012 came into force on 30 November 2014. The regulation requires importers of regulated timber products and domestic processors of raw logs to undertake due diligence to minimise the risk of illegally logged timber entering the Australian market. We conducted communication activities to help importers and domestic processors understand the new requirements.

We commenced assessments of how regulated businesses are complying with the new requirements. This included inviting businesses to volunteer for assessments, recognising those businesses that were complying with the due diligence requirements, and providing feedback to others on practices that needed improvement. We responded to allegations of non-compliance in accordance with the department’s compliance and enforcement policies.

We worked with key trading partners and Australian state governments to develop country and state-specific guidelines for importers and domestic processors. During 2014–15, we finalised country-specific guidelines with Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Finland and the Solomon Islands, and state-specific guidelines with New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia.

More information is available on the department's website.

International cooperation

We attended bilateral and multilateral forestry meetings that focused on illegal logging, sustainable forest management and promoting Australia’s domestic forest industries to the world.

These included bilateral discussions with key trading partners such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea. We also participated in the United Nations Forum on Forests, and the Forestry and Timber Sub-Working Group of the Malaysia–Australia Agricultural Cooperation Working Group.

We facilitated a timber and timber industries trade mission to China and Japan.

We attended the ​United Nations Forum on Forests and continued to play an active role in the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Expert Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT). This included chairing the EGILAT working group, which is developing a regional model for timber legality guidance documents.

We signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Papua New Guinea on forestry cooperation. We are in the process of finalising negotiations for a similar MoU with Indonesia. The new MoU is expected to be signed in 2015–16.

The department’s target for this key performance indicator was ‘partially met’ in 2014–15.

Regional capacity-building

The department provided $2 million under the Illegal Logging: Regional Capacity Building Partnership to the International Tropical Timber Organization’s Thematic Programme on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade.

The programme approved four projects for implementation—three in Indonesia and one in Papua New Guinea—valued at $1.7 million. The remaining funds will be put towards future regional funding rounds.

Scientific and economic research

Outlook scenarios for Australia’s forestry sector

ABARES continued to generate and publish key information and statistics on Australia’s forests and the forestry sector. Australia’s forests at a glance 2014 provided an overview of national information on both native forests and plantations, and their contribution to the economy.

ABARES also released Outlook scenarios for Australia’s forestry sector: key drivers and opportunities. The report describes three potential outlook scenarios for Australia’s forestry sector and analyses the availability and use of logs, opportunities for primary processing of wood products and the importance of key drivers affecting these outlooks to 2050.

This report highlights key opportunities for Australia’s forestry sector and the economic and policy factors required to realise these opportunities.


Reviewing the impact of illegal logging regulations on small business

In December 2014, the government commissioned a review into the impact of the illegal logging requirements on small business, to support the commencement of the due diligence requirements. KPMG examined whether the requirements achieved an appropriate balance between reducing the risk of illegal timber entering Australia and the cost of compliance to small businesses.

We provided information to KPMG, which included supporting data analysis by ABARES and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. More information is available on the department's website.

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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