Australian Forest Products Assn. urges federal government to buy Australia-made paper products, realize the 'true economic value'; government is exploring procurement plan, uses up to 60,000 tonnes/year of printing paper, 6,500 tonnes/year of copy paper

DEAKIN WEST, Australia , September 4, 2013 (press release) – The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has today called on the federal Coalition to recognise the true economic value of buying Australian made paper products such as office copy paper, newsprint and tissues.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton said, ‘The 21 000 people working in our domestic paper making facilities have been greatly encouraged by the recent comments by Sophie Mirabella, the Shadow Minister for Industry, about the government purchase of overseas made jackets for our military forces’.

She described this situation as an “absolute betrayal of Australian manufacturing jobs” (The Border Mail, 4 September 2013).

‘The Australian Government uses 6500 tonnes of copy paper each year as well as a further 50 000 to 60 000 tonnes of paper for printing of publications and brochures. However, current purchasing decisions pay little or no heed to the social and environmental risks from many imported paper products, such as products sourced from illegal logging or with poor environmental standards.

Furthermore, there is scant regard for the damage being done to regional jobs and communities from imported products. Local products provide additional tax revenues to governments and important flow-on employment and benefits. For every ream of Australian made copy paper for example, around $1.81 is returned to governments in the form of taxes and charges.

The current Australian Government has been exploring with industry a pilot scheme to ensure paper procurement decisions take into account these offshore risks and the ‘true value’ from domestic purchases.

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