Forest Plan no replacement for native forestry

Friday 16 Oct 2020

The Victorian Government’s call for expressions of interest from investors and plantation developers to expand the State’s plantation timber supply is important, but the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has again warned the State’s policy makers not to use an initiative like this as another defence of its decision to end sustainably managed native forestry by 2030.

The Gippsland Plantations Investment Program was announced last week by Victoria’s Minister for Agriculture, Resources and Regional Development Jaclyn Symes, indicating it will increase timber stocks by providing incentives for new plantation timber plantings.

However, the statement also included the sentence:

“The Gippsland Plantations Investment Program is part of the Victorian Forestry Plan’s commitment to transition from native forest harvesting to a plantation-based sector by 2030.”

Acting AFPA CEO Gavin Matthew said, “Once again we’re disappointed the Andrews' Government has used an important announcement as a defence of its short-sighted plan to close sustainably managed native forestry in Victoria.”

“Plantation forestry is a vital part of our industry providing the softwood timber framing for our homes, and woodchips for making paper and packaging. But sustainably managed native forestry is equally important. From these trees we get the appearance grade timbers we need for things like floors, doors, stairs and indeed the lining of the new State Parliament annex in Melbourne. We can and should do both sorts of forestry in Victoria,” Mr Matthew concluded.

Commentary from the Unions was also less than enthusiastic saying this latest instalment of the “Government’s shambolic Forestry Plan” falls well short of providing any certainty for the thousands of timber and pulp and paper workers whose jobs are on the block due to the Government’s mismanagement”. And it believes the details of the process outlined is an admission that the Government has no idea about how to sustainably restructure the industry. For further coverage, click here.

Source: AFPA, miragenews

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