The Federal Parliament has backed the vital role new timber plantations will play in fighting climate change and providing sustainable timber and wood fibre supply into the future, with a resounding vote in the Senate to confirm the role of plantations in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Joel Fitzgibbon said, “The establishment of new sustainable forestry plantations will help Australia achieve sovereign capability in timber and wood fibre in the decades ahead, while helping the nation meet its emission reduction targets. The ERF recognises the unique role sustainable forestry plays.”
Yesterday, the Senate backed sustainable plantation forestry expansion and to protect existing sustainable plantations at risk of conversion under the existing ERF method, following debate on a motion proposed by Senator David Pocock that would have reduced the role of plantations in the program.
“The Senate recognised the importance of growing timber trees and I thank the Government, Opposition and Cross-bench for its support to grow new plantations under existing ERF rules. It’s vital we continue to grow the plantation estate, not have it go backwards,” Joel Fitzgibbon said.
Recent analysis found that if Australia doesn’t plant one billion new production trees by 2030, we face a housing shortage cliff of the equivalent of 250,000 new timber house frames by 2035.
Furthermore, the Government needs practical solutions to achieve its ambitious emission reduction targets and production trees are an effective pathway, particularly as the bioeconomy comes into greater focus.
“The ERF forestry methodologies ensure only quality carbon offsets. They provide a win in creating future resource supply, a win in creating jobs in rural and regional areas and a win in fighting climate change,” Joel Fitzgibbon concluded.