The Federal Government is strengthening Australia’s sustainable timber supply, with $73.76 million in federal grants to establish new forestry plantations.
The Support Plantation Establishment program will provide grant funding over four years to help establish new long-rotation softwood and hardwood plantation forests. The program will seek to establish up to 36,000 hectares of new plantation across Australia.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the program further emphasises the Government’s commitment to supporting the forestry industry and regional communities, while reducing our carbon footprint.
“The Albanese Government has delivered the most significant forest industry support package in Australia’s history, investing over $300 million to help improve the capacity and capability of the sector,” Minister Watt said.
“By stimulating new growth in Australia’s plantation forest estate, we are helping meet future demand for timber, increasing our carbon stocks, creating regional employment opportunities, and building a sustainable and prosperous future while meeting our climate emissions reduction commitments.
“Under the previous Coalition Government, the size of Australia’s plantation forest estate declined, and estimates predict a shortfall of 3.4 million m3 in 2050 between domestic production and demand for softwood sawlogs—we have acted to prevent that from happening.”
Australian Forest Products Association Acting CEO Natasa Sikman acknowledged the importance of the grants to the future of Australian forestry.
“AFPA welcomes this stimulus to drive the planting of more and much needed timber production trees to help secure Australia’s sovereign capability in timber and wood fibre supply, while helping Australia fight climate change and underpin regional jobs in key areas,” Ms Sikman said.
“We thank Minister Watt and the broader Government for its support in ensuring this program is being delivered.”
The grants are open to private industry, First Nations businesses, farm foresters, and state and territory government forestry bodies.
Applicants are required to provide a co-contribution at least equal to the grant amount awarded. This can be demonstrated by the value of the land the new plantation forests will be established on, financial means, or state, territory, or local grant funding.
The Albanese Government will provide funding of $2,000 (GST exclusive) per 1 hectare of new long-rotation plantation forest established, with a minimum plantation area of 20 hectares to be eligible for a grant.
Applications for round 1 of the Support Plantation Establishment program opened on 21 June, and will close on 24 January 2024.
To learn more about the Support Plantation Establishment program visit grants.gov.au.