A Pulp and Paper Industry Innovation Council will be established to reportedly help make the sector more innovative, sustainable and competitive.
The council is one of 18 recommendations in the Pulp and Paper Industry Strategy Group’s final report released by Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr.
The report was made public at the Australian Pulp and Paper Industry Technical Association’s (APPITA) annual conference in Melbourne.
“This report outlines Australia’s first major pulp and paper industry strategy following a comprehensive review of the industry by the industry,” Senator Carr said.
“The Australian pulp and paper manufacturing industry directly employs nearly 19,000 people in over 440 businesses, many in rural and regional communities.
“The industry generates around $12.6 billion in domestic demand, produces total value added of about $2 billion and earns more than $1 billion in exports.”
The report finds that the industry is at a crucial juncture, requiring important transformation to ensure its future sustainability, Senator Carr said.
“It identifies new opportunities for the industry to increase its competitiveness and support high-wage, high-skill jobs,” he said.
“I believe that the industry has a strong future as long at it continues to attract investment, foster innovation and develop sustainable practices.
“By doing so, it can build on its already significant social and economic contribution and continue to play a vital role in Australia’s future prosperity.”
The report’s other recommendations include:
• attracting investment into the industry;
• streamlining regulation;
• increasing the industry’s use of renewable energy;
• improving transport efficiency;
• addressing trade distorting factors; and
• increasing skills training for employees.