Improving efficiency in tree growing, sawmilling and manufacture of wood products

The 1992 National Forest Policy Statement announced the establishment of the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation.

The Commonwealth Government, in partnership with the forest industries, will establish, the Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation, the charter of which will be to identify priorities and to commission, administer and subsequently evaluate research into a broad range of issues relating to wood production, extraction, processing, economics and marketing. Among these issues will be the impacts of disturbance resulting from wood production, silviculture, and management of native forests and plantations; the commercial and economic aspects of wood production; and research of relevance to the wood products industries. The new Corporation will be encouraged to ensure effective communication of research results to scientists, industry, land managers and the wider community through a scientific journal and more widely distributed magazines. It will also administer the Forestry Postgraduate Research Award Program. The Commonwealth Government will support plantations research through the new Corporation. Research into commercial wood production on farms will be dealt with by the new Corporation in cooperation with the joint agroforestry research and development program developed by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation. Where appropriate, the State Governments and industry will support this.

In 2007 the Corporation was converted into a membership organisation (including wood processors, forest growers, and Australian importers of forest products) and renamed Forests and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), half funded by the Commonwealth. 

However since the NFPS was adopted there has been a significant decline in government support for research, development and extension (RD&E) within the timber and forestry sector, exemplified by the closure of the Cooperative Research Centre for Forestry in 2012.  The situation is now so dire that in their latest strategic plan the FWPA note that the sector faces a potential shortage in technical skills to address future problems and opportunities.

RFPG calls upon the Victorian Government to build an innovation hub based on the newly purchased Heyfield Mill directed to undertaking ground breaking research and development and extension; and exploring technologies and policy strategies for increasing efficiency in milling and manufacture.

RFPG calls upon the Victorian Government to exercise national leadership in policy development for promoting efficient technologies in the milling and manufacture of wood products.