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Northern Australia Forest & Forest Products - Milestones & Achievements


November 2020 Developing Northern Australia Conference - Rockhampton

TQ Mick Stephens CEO attends the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Rockhampton with key CRCNA partners to present the research findings of the northern forestry situational analysis led by Timber Queensland. You can access his presentation Forestry Development in Northern Australia: cross sector synergies with mining, grazing and indigenous enterprise opportunities here

The conference also coincided with the release of the CRCNA's State of the North Report, which can be accessed here

Pictured is Mick Stephens & TQ member Aaron Soanes from CO2 Australia visiting the CRCNA stand at the DNA Conference. 
7 March 2019 
Announcement of Northern Australia’s forestry and forestry products industry situation analysis project.
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan announced the $209,300 CRCNA research collaboration with Timber Queensland (TQ), the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NT DPIR), Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).
June 2019 
Regional Consultation Forums - Cairns, Nhulunbuy & Darwin
Darwin workshop

Consultation Forums for CRCNA's project to identify the growth potential for northern Australia’s forestry and forestry products industry were held in Cairns, Nhulunbuy and Darwin this week.  More than 80 attendees across the three venues heard from members of the project's steering committee provide an overview of  Northern Australia’s Indigenous Forestry & Forest Products Industry and the purpose and objectives of the  Industry Situation Analysis.  A number of local industry case studies and examples of issues and opportunities confronting current market participants including Wik Timber, East Arnhem and Gumatj. The growth potential for these current and potential new businesses were discussed and participants invited to contribute ideas for areas of future research and development.  These open discussions are essential to complement the literature review and develop a fully informed situation analysis of Northern Australia's forestry industry.

 July 2019 
Draft Overview Report released for stakeholder feedback
The Northern Forestry & Forest Products Industry Situation Analysis draft Overview Report was made avaliable for stakeholder feedback available. The draft Overview Report identified and described key challenges faced by the northern Australian forestry and forest products industry, and subsequently explores potential solutions and opportunities for further discussion, research or investment. 
September 2019 
Western Australia Consultation Forum
Held in Kununurra, Western Australia this regional consultation forum focused on the northern Australian sandalwood plantation industry, which is based on the exotic Indian sandalwood species Santalum album. This industry has a strong presence in the Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) with two main operators involved in the growing and processing of sandalwood products: Santanol and Quintis.  The workshop explored opportunities and challenges for this particular sector of the industry in northern Australia.
October 2019
Second Draft Overview Report released with Key Findings
The Northern Forestry & Forest Products Industry Situation Analysis second draft Overview & Opportunities Report is now available and it should be read in conjunction with the literature review and regional workshop reports included as appendices. The report provides a high-level synopsis of the challenges, potential solutions and opportunities for further policy development, research or investment in the northern forest products industry. 

Key Findings

Northern Australia, as defined by the tropic of Capricorn in Queensland and Western Australia, and including all of the Northern Territory, encompasses 52.7% of Australia's land mass and contributes 11,7% of Australia's GDP.  Northern Australia has:

  • 48% of Australia's forests (63 million hectares, with 73% under indigenous land ownership or management)
  • 13 million hectares of native forest with commercial potential
  • 22 million hectares of private forest
  • 82 000 of commercial wood plantations

Given these extensive resources, and the potential to target climatically and otherwise suitable expansion of plantation forestry assets, the opportunities are broad.

An Emerging Roadmap

Given the broad opportunities available, the draft report has identified an emerging roadmap for the further development of the industry.  


Key priority opportunities include:

  • Improve security of access to supply of resource
  • Further domestic processing & value adding
  • Build better engagement models with stakeholders
  • Generate sustainable local employment and incomes
  • Increase supply of wood products from northern Australia locally and globally.


A number of key actions have also been identified to deliver concrete outcomes.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Deliver clear and ‘investible’ resource security for native forests and plantations
  • Expand plantation development into suitable regions
  • Extend silvicultural knowledge for native forests and plantations
  • Develop silvopastoral opportunities
  • Leverage existing mine site rehabilitation activities
  • Targeted training and forestry extension
Overarching Needs
Numerous regulatory, research, development and market needs which respond to opportunities identified as part of the project are outlined in the draft report.  In summary the overarching needs are:
  • Improved stakeholder engagement and participation to identify all needs, opportunities and knowledge
  • Ongoing forest inventory and silvicultural information, especially for native forests
  • Improved carbon accounting research and rules for native forests and plantations.
What next?
The final report will be submitted to CRCNA by mid November, if you have any comments and feedback on this second draft report please provide these to Clarissa Brandt by 31 October.