(from left) Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens, Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch at the Hyne Timber warehouse in Portsmith to announce a $200,000 fund to identify the growth potential for Northern Australia's forestry industry. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO
(from left) Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens, Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan and Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch at the Hyne Timber warehouse in Portsmith to announce a $200,000 fund to identify the growth potential for Northern Australia's forestry industry. PICTURE: CHRIS CALCINO

Timber study plants seeds of growth for FNQ industry

NORTHERN Australia's role in regrowing a dwindling timber industry will be mapped out in a new $200,000 study announced by the Federal Government.

Senator Matt Canavan was in Cairns yesterday to unveil the 10-month project under the guidance of the Co-operative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia.

"What this study in particular will look at trying to identify is the landowners … who have a fantastic forestry resource on their property but may not be aware of the commercial opportunities that could ensue from them," he said.

"This 10-month study will look to identify all of those and strategically allow our mills in Northern Australia, and indeed across Australia, access to that resource and grow and sustain our great timber industry for the future."

Sen Canavan said the study would cover all kinds of land owner groups, from graziers and indigenous landholders to miners, highlighting for them the economic logic behind starting tree plantations on their properties.

Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens was also on hand for yesterday's announcement at the Hyne Timber warehouse in Portsmith.

"We're really excited about this project," he said.

"It's really about giving the timber industry some visibility.

"This strategic study in Northern Australia is really going to lock into the untapped potential of the resource.

"Currently this is about a $30 million industry - we could probably triple or double that."

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the industry had been hurt by green campaigners who "overlooked one thing: it is renewable, and actually if you plant a tree, it grows".



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