As Australia contends with major timber framing supply issues, forest industries look forward to greater progress on the Federal Government’s Billion Trees Plan to ensure we achieve sovereign capability to create our sustainable and essential wood and fibre products into the future, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Ross Hampton said today.
During Federal Parliament Question Time today, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud was asked by Centre Alliance Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, “How many trees had been planted since the Plan had been released in 2018?”
In response, Minister Littleproud stated:
“We did announce our intention to go towards one billion trees and one of the biggest challenges subsequent to that has been the Black Summer events which have in fact displaced much of the industry…that whole program was displaced because of the Black Summer events. As simple as that.”
Mr Hampton said he was pleased the Billion Trees Plan remained part of the Government’s thinking, but replanting of fire affected areas is now well underway and there is no reason to hold back any longer on new plantings.
“The Federal Government has provided vital assistance to allow forest industries to emerge from the terrible events of Black Summer and our tree growing enterprises, sawmills and paper making plants have been extremely grateful.
“Now is the time however to put the foot on the accelerator and deliver meaningful progress on the Billion Trees Plan which was, it seems, paused. If we don’t get more trees planted, the current building supply issues we are witnessing nationwide will be dwarfed by the looming supply cliff in the decades ahead.
“Planting trees is a win, win, win for Australia. It will provide timber for our homes, store carbon to help meet climate goals, and, if combined with livestock farming, reduce windchill and evaporation losses, increasing primary production.”