Stimulus package 'lifeline'

THE Federal Government's $42 billion economic stimulus package has been seen as a lifeline for the future for many in the forest and timber and associated industries.

First announcements of the rescue package brought hope. Then hopes were dashed when the opposition tried to block the move in the Lower House. Despite the marathon sitting, the Government won out and now it remains a matter of receiving approval from the Senate.

At the time of going to press the conjecture was that the Government's rescue package would get the go ahead.

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner warned there could be consequences if the Government was not allowed to act quickly to head off a looming recession.

The forest and timber industry is definitely in favour of the stimulus. The Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) was one of the first to laud the move and described the package as a critical step in safeguarding Australia's economy while providing a remarkable opportunity to build an environmentally sustainable future.

The plan will see the construction of more than 20,000 new social and defence force houses and an immense investment into community infrastructure, an opportunity the VAFI chief executive officer Philip Dalidakis said was ideal for utilising the sustainable resources of the timber industry.

“The Prime Minister has shown a great commitment towards retaining jobs and stimulating the increasingly strained economy. It is imperative that he show this same commitment towards the forest industry by ensuring that the infrastructure is built using sustainable timber from the Timber Industry,” Dalidakis said.

“This is a great opportunity to not only provide much needed housing and upgrades, but to also start building a national infrastructure that is both economically beneficial through its support of rural and regional jobs, and is environmentally sustainable through the use of carbon storing timber.

“Timber really is the best building material available because it stores carbon as it grows and then 'locks' the carbon away, while being the only truly renewable resource. There is also very little energy used in the manufacturing of timber in comparison to other building products, and of course timber is biodegradable.

“Infrastructure built using sustainably harvested timber is a win-win for the Federal Government; it helps support local communities and jobs while simultaneously supporting the Government's own commitment to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme where it acknowledged the timber industry is the only carbon positive industry.”

Remember, wood's good.

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