Should WA to let go of pine plantations?

Friday 15 Dec 2023

Gavin Butcher, a forester and former Forest Products Commission director, wrote an interesting opinion piece about pine plantations in Western Australia:

South Australia did it in 2012. Victoria managed it back in 1998, Queensland in 2010, Tasmania in 2017. Only WA and NSW have held on to their pine plantations as commercial businesses.

Why have most States decided to relinquish these massive estates…and realised significant financial windfalls through privatisation?

More than 50 years ago across Australia, governments took the lead in expanding plantations with financial assistance form the Commonwealth. Softwood was a new industry and the scale of the investment was large.

Even as the industry developed, the Federal Government maintained its primary role as the plantation grower while timber processors focused on developing their plant, technology and markets.

Fast forward 50 years, and despite the industry having fully matured, the WA Government continues to take responsibility for supplying the wood.

It’s time for the State Government to change its methods for encouraging plantation forestry and follow eastern Australia — pass the pine plantation baton on to the private sector and, with government support, let it take control of its own destiny.

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Source: Countryman

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