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British Columbia’s premier says the only way the provincial forest industry will grow is through partnerships with First Nations and companies.

In the keynote address to the BC Council of Forest Industries conference, John Horgan told delegates co-operation between industry, government, First Nations, workers and communities is vital to sustain employment and profitability.

His statements come as the government announced this week its plans to co-develop a new model for sharing forestry revenue with First Nations in alignment with legislation it adopted on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

First Nations will receive a $63-million increase in forestry income this year as part of the model.

The province is also implementing a strategic review of B.C.’s old-growth forest management, while working with First Nations and other partners to develop a new long-term strategy.

Horgan told the crowd Friday the government’s goal is to combine traditional Indigenous knowledge with developing industry expertise through one of the more sophisticated old-growth strategies ever seen in B.C.

“It’s not just about revenue sharing, it’s about partnerships and those have to be genuine,” he said. “Detached from each other, we will fail.”

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