A$100 Million Boost For Australian Forest and Wood Innovations

The future of sustainable forestry in Australia has received significant support with the official launch of the Australian Government’s A$100 million Australian Forest and Wood Innovations (AFWI) program.

AFWI is a collaboration between the Australian Government and the University of Tasmania, committed to advancing research and innovation in Australian forest and wood products.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, said the University of Tasmania AFWI Headquarters in Launceston would support a local AFWI research centre, with further centres planned for the University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of Melbourne.

“Establishing AFWI was an election commitment which we are proud to deliver and forms part of our record A$300 million investment in the Australian forestry and forest product sector.”

“It’s an exciting time for forestry research as we work towards unlocking the full potential of wood as the ultimate renewable material and growing our forests and forestry industry,” Minister Watt said.

“The three research centres will undertake research to enhance our production forests and the wood products sourced from them – managing and sustainably expanding our Australian forestry resources, transforming wood residues into renewable products and energy solutions – all while helping to address the threat of climate change,” Watt added.

The AFWI Board is chaired by Mr Bob Gordon and includes nine other members with industry and forestry research experience, an understanding of workers’ needs, First Nations perspectives and from the Commonwealth.

AFWI will create opportunities for innovation and support the development of researchers to support the sectors’ future, building on the work the existing regional National Institute for Forest Products Innovation centres have already delivered.

The University of Tasmania’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rufus Black, said the university was excited to bring world leading research to answer questions that will help accelerate the role of forestry and wood products in meeting the challenge of climate change and building a circular economy.

“We are the number one university in the world for climate action according to the Times Higher Education impact rankings and we are committing to supporting the transition to a low-emissions global economy we need to make – wood must play a big part in that future,” Professor Black said.