The Victorian government has released a 30-year plan for the state’s forestry industry.
The plan includes $120 million for support for the industry, with existing timber supply agreements extended until 2024.
After 2024, agreements regarding the logging of native timber will be reduced, and will be phased out by 2030.
Logging in old growth forests will end immediately.
As an alternative, the Victorian government will provide funding for mills to purchase new equipment to process alternative timbers. For example, according to a statement released by the government, Australian Paper will transition to a full plantation-based supply, with a view to operating until at least 2050.
“This industry is going through a transition. It means it’s not good enough for us to merely cross our fingers and hope for the best. We need a plan to support workers and support jobs,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
If a company does not transition to plantation-sourced timber, funding will be available for employees to access re-employment and re-training services. Community projects that support local businesses and create jobs will also receive funding.
Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, Jaclyn Symes, outlined that the plan responds to changing consumer sentiment in the timber industry.
“Industry and retailers are moving towards more sustainable timber products and the future of the forestry industry relies on a Government with a clear long-term plan.”
“By acting now, businesses and workers have the security they need and a clear strategy in place for the transition to plantation timber.”