SA forest growers looking to expand in Victoria

Friday 16 Aug 2019

South Australia's forestry industry says it is struggling to secure enough water licenses to expand, warning that if growers plant forests interstate instead, jobs and investment will follow.

Key points:

- Forest growers in south east South Australia need water licenses for plantations
- Industry union says plantations are likely to decrease in SA and expand in Victoria unless "something's done"
- Forestry industry will be highlighting water issues in parliamentary inquiry

Water in the lower Limestone Coast, a region home to more than 150,000 hectares of commercial plantations, comes from aquifers and is meted out by the State Government through the 2013 Water Allocation Plan. Forestry was included in the region's plan in 2014, and growers had to buy licenses to offset the impact plantations had on groundwater reserves.

But up to a quarter of forests in the region did not secure licenses, meaning growers are now looking to Victoria to replant once those forests in South Australia are harvested. Across the border in Victoria, the forestry industry does not need to buy water licenses for its plantations.

OneFortyOne, which operates the largest sawmill in the South Australia — is one of the growers calling for changes to the way water is managed. Chief executive Linda Sewell said "there's a lot of money" to be spent on forestry in the Limestone Coast, but the size of the plantation estate could prevent growth. "We need to put more trees in the ground and to put more trees in the ground, we need water," she said.

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Source: ABC News

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