Forest industry asks for help
THE forestry industry has called on the Federal Government to help prevent non-mining regions becoming "economic wastelands".
ForestWorks' chief executive Michael Hartman said it was important to ensure non-mining industries such as timber and manufacturing were not ignored.
"With all the talk and attention on mining there is a constant need to ensure we maintain a focus on other vital industries, like timber and manufacturing, and the need to assist them so they can continue to support regions around the country," Mr Hartman said.
"Some say it is not government's role to offer support, I say it's not government's role to allow non-mining regions to become economic wastelands.
"This does not mean that regions are looking for a handout.
"Indeed, there is no point in propping up companies and industries that are headed for oblivion.
"However, what government can do is identify where there are opportunities for growth and then actively work to support those sectors.
"There is often a paradox in our regions where industry is retrenching workers at the same time as there are skills shortages they cannot meet."
A recent Productivity Commission review of industry assistance found the manufacturing industry was given more than $7.5 billion in grants, tariffs and tax concessions in 2010-11.
The same review found the forestry industry was given $92.6 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year.