TCA applauds Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s action to bring about the reinstatement of wood waste, sourced from legally and sustainably managed native forest or processing operations, as an eligible bioenergy feedstock in the Renewable
Energy Target scheme, alongside non-native forest wood waste.
TCA has been engaging with federal parliamentarians on the issue, reminding them that the sustainable timber and wood products industry, as a whole, supports tens of thousands of jobs and families in regional communities and tens of thousands further upstream in the cities.
Cross bench support is needed to enact the Federal Government’s upcoming RET scheme Bill. TCA wrote to all the cross-bench Senators urging them to support the Bill and applauds the commonsense shown by Senator Ricky Muir and Senator Jacquie Lambie supporting this change back to where things were before.
TCA also wrote to the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and his shadow Ministerial colleagues Mark Butler (Environment, Climate Change) and Joel Fitzgibbon (Agriculture and Rural Affairs), urging the ALP to rethink its position aligned with the Greens to leave out this form of wood waste from the RET scheme.
TCA pointed out it is unacceptable that small communities in timber areas are denied legitimate participation in possible new investment, new jobs and local benefits from renewable bioenergy generation, using legally generated wood waste, if that waste method suits their particular local circumstances.
Regrettably, the current ALP/Greens policy stance blocks innovation pathways to produce more carbon friendly outcomes from legally produced, existing (not new) waste. Timber processors are vital to the social and economic fabric of towns and districts across Australia. Hundreds closed in past decades under great pressure – there is no basis to make it harder for the survivors to innovate.
TCA has pointed out that there are no environmental or scientific reasons to continue the current exclusion, made in 2011 by the minority Labour government. Before then, this type of wood waste had been an eligible feedstock for a decade. TCA also pointed out the ban is out of step with more enlightened international attitudes to bioenergy. All parts of the sector should be encouraged to innovate and produce better environmental outcomes from waste products.
TCA’s charter is non-partisan and TCA engages with all political parties in the interests of sensible policy.