30 November 2009
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke has welcomed the decision by the Green Building Council of Australia to revise its GreenStar building rating scheme, which will now recognise best practice Australian sustainable forest management.
“This decision protects Australian jobs and investment opportunities for Australian businesses by recognising the vast majority of domestically produced certified wood products in Australia,” Mr Burke said.
“The Rudd Government supports all internationally-recognised forest certification schemes that provide for legal and sustainable forest management.
“This decision gives recognition and accreditation to both the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme.”
The outcome was brokered in discussions with the Green Building Council last week.
More than 10 million hectares of native and plantation forests are certified in Australia, including 9.9 million hectares certified under the AFS and just over half a million hectares under the FSC.
“The new criteria for the Green Building Council Australia’s timber credit provides the Australian forest and wood products industry the opportunity to move closer to worlds sustainable best practice,” Mr Burke said.
The decision concludes a long campaign to give equal recognition to credible forest certification schemes by the Australian forest and wood products sector and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).
It also follows strong representations to Mr Burke from the Forest Industry Leaders Ministerial Roundtable and the Forest and Wood Products Council.
Giving equal recognition to the FSC and the AFS places sustainable forestry standards within the reach of more local businesses. This will create real incentives to improve sustainable forestry management in Australia.
State and territory governments, through the Primary Industries Ministerial Council, last month issued a unanimous call to recognise sustainable forestry practices in the domestic industry.