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Forest Product Research Multiplies Investment

Forest Product Research Multiplies Investment

Australia’s forest and wood products industry has benefited by as much as $150 million from research and development carried out between 1994 and 2000.

Forestry and Conservation Minister Senator Ian Macdonald will today launch a report into timber and wood development projects that finds every research dollar spent returned at least $7 in economic, environmental and social benefits.

Senator Macdonald said the report Investing in Innovation — released by the Forests and Wood Products Research & Development Corporation (FWPRDC) — demonstrates the importance of research in providing a sustainable timber industry.

“Central to the future of the timber and wood industry will be the capacity to get greater value from raw materials through more efficient processes and value-adding products,” he said.

“This report has shown that investment in research and development is a key platform on which the extra value will be built.”

The report follows an independent impact analysis by Brisbane based Agtrans Research, which examined 35 R&D projects out of a total of 79 completed by the FWPRDC over the six-year period.

The randomly selected projects — each with total funding of more than $30,000 — were assessed in terms of meeting objectives, achieving outcomes and providing benefits, both to the forest and wood products industry and the wider community.

Senator Macdonald said a full cost-benefit analysis, revealed the net present value of the sample projects to be $258 million, with a benefit-cost ratio of seven to one. Total funding for all 79 projects was approximately $21 million ($9.3 million FWPRDC, plus external funding).

“The benefits from this investment are likely to be as much as $150 million in improvements to sustainable timber growing, processing and product development,” Senator Macdonald said.

In addition to the economic benefits, 13 of the projects demonstrated environmental benefits and six demonstrated social benefits.

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