12 February 2024, AU: The second round of grants for the $74 million Support Plantation Establishment Program is now open for applications.
Farm foresters, First Nations businesses and the forestry industry are among those who will benefit from funding to support more new plantation forests in Australia.
Acting Deputy Secretary of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Policy Group Dr Jared Greenville said the grants aimed to increase domestic timber supply, particularly construction and manufacturing timber.
“Australia’s plantation forest estate has been in decline for over a decade,” Dr Greenville said.
“Estimates from 2019 predict a shortfall in domestic production of softwood logs of 3.4 million m3 by 2050 based on 2015–16 production levels.
“That’s why this grant opportunity continues to play an important role to increase Australia’s future timber supply and reduce our dependence on imported timber.
“It’s also an important investment in regional and rural jobs and the new plantations will continue to contribute to Australia’s carbon emission reduction targets.”
The first round of the program has awarded more than $3.2 million across 7 projects in New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania. It is expected that a further announcement of successful projects from the first round, which closed on 24 January, will be made shortly.
“The Australian Government is providing funding of $2,000 (GST exclusive) per hectare of new long-rotation plantation forest established,” Dr Greenville said.
“It can take some tree species 20 to 30 years of growing before they are suitable for harvest and can be processed into structural timber.
“This growing time is even longer for some hardwood species.”
Projects can run for 1, 2 or 3 years and must be concluded no later than 30 June 2027.
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