West Australian Premier announces investment in softwood plantation timber industry

Photo: John Withers/Unsplash

The Forest Products Commission (FPC) of Western Australian government welcomes the announcement by the West Australian Premier, The Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, to invest a record $350 million to expand Western Australia’s softwood plantation timber industry.

This record investment is expected to provide at least an additional 33,000 hectares of softwood timber plantation, with up to 50 million pine trees planted, sequestering between 7.9 and 9.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

This expansion plan will create estimate figures of around 60 direct timber industry jobs and 80 indirect jobs, with the new jobs initially associated with the plantation establishment program. The plan will also protect 860 direct jobs and 1,120 indirect jobs, mostly in the southwest timber industry, as well as support the many thousands of jobs in the state’s construction industry that depend upon the reliable supply of softwood timber.

The softwood processing industry currently supplies the majority of pine products used in the state’s housing and construction market. It also supports a range of other markets such as particleboard, pallet timber, fence posts and power poles.

The state government also announced at the conclusion of the current Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 that all timber taken from native forests will be limited to forest management activities that improve forest health and clearing for approved mining operations. It is expected these activities will produce a limited volume of native timber that will be subject to the normal tender processes of the Forest Products Commission.

The government has committed $50 million to support a Just Transition Fund, that will assist workers, businesses and communities, of the Southwest in this transition. The FPC will work with industry to make the necessary adjustments for the future.