$73 Million Funding Sets Timber Plantations Ablaze in Agriculture

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Bolstered by a staggering $73 million funding injection, Australia’s timber plantations are ablaze with new growth and opportunities, igniting a transformative chapter in agriculture.

The Albanese Administration is enhancing Australia’s sustainable timber supply by allocating $73.76 million in federal grants to create new forestry plantations.

Through the Support Plantation Establishment program, grant funding will be available over four years to facilitate the establishment of fresh softwood and hardwood plantation forests with long rotation periods. The program aims to establish up to 36,000 hectares of new plantations across Australia.

Albanese Government Plants Seeds of Support for Forestry, Communities, and the Environment

Murray Watt, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry, emphasised that this program demonstrates the Albanese Government’s dedication to supporting the forestry industry and regional communities while reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

Minister Watt stated, “The Albanese Government has implemented the most substantial support package for the forest industry in Australian history, with an investment of over $300 million to enhance the sector’s capacity and capabilities.”

“By promoting the growth of Australia’s plantation forest estate, we are addressing future timber demands, increasing our carbon reserves, generating employment opportunities in regional areas, and building a sustainable and prosperous future while fulfilling our commitments to reduce climate emissions.”

“We have taken action to prevent the decline of Australia’s plantation forest estate, which occurred during the previous Coalition Government’s tenure. Forecasts indicate a shortfall of 3.4 million m3 in softwood sawlog production and domestic demand by 2050, and we are determined to avert that scenario.”

AFPA Applauds Grants Driving Timber Growth, Climate Action, and Regional Jobs

Natasa Sikman, Acting CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), recognised the significance of these grants for the future of Australian forestry.

“AFPA welcomes this initiative, which will stimulate the planting of additional timber production trees that are much needed to ensure Australia’s self-reliance in timber and wood fibre supply. Moreover, it contributes to our efforts in combating climate change. It supports job creation in vital regions,” Ms Sikman expressed her gratitude to Minister Watt and the broader government for their support in implementing this program.

Private industry, First Nations businesses, farm foresters, and state and territory government forestry bodies can apply for these grants.

Applicants must provide a co-contribution equal to or greater than the grant amount awarded. This can be demonstrated through the value of the land on which the new plantation forests will be established, financial means, or grants from state, territory, or local authorities.

The Albanese Government will allocate $2,000 (excluding GST) per hectare of new long-rotation plantation forest established. A minimum plantation area of 20 hectares is required to qualify for a grant.

Applications for the first round of the Support Plantation Establishment program are now open, starting on June 21 and closing on January 24, 2024.

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