The forest industry’s economic contribution to the “Green Triangle” plantation region of south-west Victoria and south-east South Australia is significant – it directly generated $1.2 billion in sales last financial year and a total of $1.9 billion when flow-on effects in other industries are included.
That was among the key findings of a new industry snapshot funded by Forest & Wood Products Australia, and conducted by the University of Canberra in conjunction with consultancy EconSearch, a division of BDO.
In terms of jobs, the forestry industry employed just over 2300 people in the Green Triangle in the first half of 2017 and, in some local government areas like Mount Gambier accounted for as much as 10 per cent of total employment.
Forest workers also earned higher-than-average incomes compared to others in the area, the industry snapshot found.
Employment in the industry fell five per cent between 2011 and 2016, with a decline in processing and manufacturing jobs partly offset by a rise in employment in growing, harvesting and haulage of plantation timber as hardwood plantations established in the late 1990s start reaching harvesting age.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer said that despite the fall of numbers in the industry, there are still strong opportunities for employment.
“Many employers reported finding it difficult to recruit workers, including professional staff, transport workers, heavy machine operators and field staff,” she said.
“The snapshot also included the results of surveys of local residents in the area. Local residents view the industry as very important for the local economy, particularly for generating jobs. There remains some concern about the impact of the industry on local roads, an issue the industry is working continuously and proactively to address.”
To read the report Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry – Green Triangle in full, visit http://www.fwpa.com.au/images/Green_Triangle_Report_8Dec2017_published.pdf
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