Communities devastated by the shutdown of the timber industry are set to see their economies bolstered with $10 million dollars in State Government funding now available for new industries and existing industry expansion. Applications for the New Industry Development Grants opened on May 29 to attract new industries and support expansion of existing businesses in affected timber regions. It comes after the State Government announced a ban on the timber industry from 2024 in 2021, with more than $80 million committed for affected businesses, workers and organisations since through the Native Forestry Transition Plan. The $10 million NIDG allows eligible businesses, innovators and organisations with planned, investment-ready projects to claim up to $2 million to support the creation of new employment opportunities, protect existing jobs and future-proof Western Australia’s regional economies. Dozens of unique, innovative and sustainable projects for the South West are expected to be put forward for the funding, with the region the most affected by the logging ban. Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis said the grants will attract new and sustainable industries to the regions and allow existing businesses to expand and create jobs to future-proof WA’s economy. “I encourage any business looking to develop in the State’s south to consider applying for matched funding through the New Industry Development Grants,” she said. “Since September 2021, the State Government has committed $80 million to support the transition out of native timber logging and protect the State’s forests for future generations.” Member for Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie said this is an exciting opportunity for new industries to establish or existing businesses to expand their activities in the native forest timber regions. “The NIDG will add value to our local economies and will contribute to the development of a range of exciting new job opportunities,” she said. Other funding rounds in the State Government’s $80m NFTP include $15 million Small Business Development and Diversification program, $4 million Community Small Grants Fund and a $1 million Closure of Impacted Businesses program. The native logging ban is expected to save more than 400,000ha of native forests, but see about 500 jobs lost — negated by the potential job creation after the State Government invested $350m in new softwood plantations across the South West in recent months. Businesses can apply for the NIDG on the State Government website until all funding is allocated.