Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (2.44 pm): A severe timber supply crisis is crippling the
construction industry. This crisis has driven up the cost of raw timber supplies by over 100 per cent,
created lengthy delays in the supply of timber and timber products, and sufficiently inflated the cost of
construction and renovation projects. If the government’s lack of action continues, we will be short
56,000 house frames by 2035. The government simplistically blames the crisis on a building boom. That
is a shallow, sloppy and ignorant response. The major cause of the crisis is created by the government.
The government will not discuss it. The crisis is underpinned by systemic failure of government policy
over two decades.
Former premier Peter Beattie signed the South East Queensland Regional Forest Agreement in
1999. He promised a long-term transition to a timber industry based on plantation timber. Labor
promised it would give confidence and supply for the next 50 to 100 years. Beattie’s primary industries
minister, Henry Palaszczuk, promised us 5,000 hectares and 10 million trees. Labor governments talk
big but continually fail to deliver.
In 2010 the Bligh-Fraser government sold off Forestry Plantations Queensland for less than half
its value. It was purported to be worth $1.3 billion; they sold it off for $600 million in an asset sale. It
again showed Labor’s lack of commitment to long-term forest resource sustainability. It is no different
today. Two years ago the Premier promised a timber advisory panel. Today in question time the Premier
could not point to even one recommendation her major advisory body has made. The Premier was
clueless. I have been advised that it has met only twice in two years and has made no
This crisis is directly attributable to a litany of systemic failures from Labor governments. If Labor
had implemented commitments made 20 years ago, we would not be in today’s situation. During
estimates the agriculture minister was flippant about the policy failure because it started over 20 years
ago. The minister obviously does not understand how long it takes to grow trees for harvest. The
minister’s ignorance at best and arrogance and smugness at worst shows that he does not understand
planning for the future and setting the right policy agenda. Well-managed young-growth state forests
are a reliable and sustainable source of timber which provide significantly enhanced ecological benefits.
It was clear at last night’s successful Parliamentary Friends of Forestry event that there are major
concerns about a lack of investment and a lack of confidence. The forest agreements have been an
impediment to future investment and resource security. It is vital Queensland undertakes medium and
longer term measures to boost supply. It is critical to develop policy initiatives to expand plantations and
better manage state land to secure sovereign capability. We need action now to future-proof the viability
of the timber industry and prepare for future timber needs.