Socio-economic impacts of the forest industry Western Australia
31st January 2018
This report examined the employment and economic activity generated by the WA forest industry, and identified the communities in which the industry generates a significant proportion of local jobs.
The analysis shows that, overall, the number of jobs generated by the industry has declined significantly since 2006, although employment generated by hardwood plantations has grown. The majority of jobs generated by the industry are generated by the processing sector, as is the majority of the flow-on economic impact of the industry. This highlights the importance of local processing of wood and fibre for generation of jobs from the industry; fewer jobs are created if logs are harvested and exported with no or little processing. While relatively few businesses feel demand will decline for their products, half report business conditions as being more challenging than usual, and many find it difficult to recruit some types of workers. Increasing labour and input costs and lack of investment in the industry are concerns for many businesses. These challenges suggest that the current trend of ongoing decline in employment – particularly in processing of wood and fibre products - is likely to continue in the softwood plantation and native forest sectors unless there is significant new opportunity for investment in the industry.