Forestry Centre to revitalise SA industry

The State Government has released a plan to make Mount Gambier the home of its Forestry Centre of Excellence.

Mar 28, 2023, updated Mar 28, 2023
Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The $15 million centre, a pre-election promise, will undertake research focused on water, fire, breeding, wood products, data analytics, carbon, silviculture and environmental management.

Minister for Forest Industries, Clare Scriven, said the 10-year collaborative project will be the first of its kind, positioned on the existing University of South Australia/TAFE precinct in Mount Gambier to capitalise on the South East’s Green Triangle, Australia’s premier plantation forestry and wood products region.

“The Green Triangle region is the powerhouse of the Australian forest industry with 140 years of innovation and experience in growing and producing world recognised products,” she said.

“The Forestry Centre of Excellence takes advantage of this longstanding wealth of local expertise, skills and knowledge, which in turn increases our workforce capability and employment opportunities.”

Industry stakeholders are also pleased to see the announcement of the plan.

Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association, Nathan Paine, said the plan will “supercharge” research in the industry.

“It will create a home of collaboration and research development that will help us understand how to grow trees faster and straighter,” he said.

“We know that if we can invest in better research and development, we’ll get access to better fibre in the future, but, more importantly, we can look at new ways of utilising fibre.”

The hope is that this long-term research will enhance the economic opportunities of the region, support the full forestry supply chain, and generate more jobs and long-term investment in the area.

The centre will also become a hub for innovation and sustainability with hopes of building better relationships with First Nations landowners.

Alongside UniSA, the centre will host other organisations such as the National Institute of Forest Products Innovation, the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub, Tree Breeding Australia, and the Logging Investigation and Training Association.

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UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, said the university is proud to partner in forestry research and innovation.

“We know the Forestry Centre of Research will deliver powerful economic and social benefits,” she said.

UniSA, TAFE, PIRSA, and the Department for Education are involved in a master planning process to outline building and accommodation requirements for the Centre.

The project is yet to find a centre director.

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