The decision was announced in conjunction with the government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) and commits the government to co-investing up to $4.7 million over four years, matched by industry funds, for additional research, development and extension. This will create a total pool of $9.4 million in funds.

“This is a great announcement and ratifies one of the key recommendations of the Productivity Commission into rural research and development corporations,” said Ric Sinclair, FWPA’s managing director.

“I would like to thank the Assistant Minister, Senator Ruston, and Minister for Agriculture and Water, The Hon. Barnaby Joyce, for taking this step and I am confident that it will be warmly welcomed across the forest and wood products sector,” Mr Sinclair added.

FWPA receives matching payments from the Australian Government for investments in research, development and extension – but this is currently limited to funds received via the compulsory levy system. The recent announcement will allow the provision of matching payments for industry investments outside of the levy system which are called “˜voluntary contributions’.

FWPA is forecast to receive $3.5 million in matching payments from the government for this financial year. If industry voluntarily commits additional funds into projects managed by FWPA then this would be matched by the government and would create a boost to research, development and extension.

“We have been working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Water for some time on this matter and we are hopeful that we can get the administrative arrangements into place very quickly,” Mr Sinclair said.

Over the Christmas and New Year period, the TimberTrader News team will be reporting a little less frequently than our usual daily updates.

We’ll resume our normal reporting on Monday 4 January, 2016. We wish all our readers have a safe and happy break.