Federal Labor’s commitment today to review the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) methodologies for plantations and farm forestry, with the aim of enabling our industry to fully participate in the carbon market, is a game-changer for our forest industries and has the potential to incentivise new plantings in key forestry regions and create tens of thousands of new jobs, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton said today.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon today committed:

A future Labor Government will review the water rule restrictions with the aim to remove the existing rules in both the plantations and farm forestry Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies, to ensure the forestry sector can compete on a level playing field and to play a bigger role in a lower carbon future.

“Allowing Australia’s plantation and farm forestry sectors to participate in the carbon market on a level playing field will incentivise the planting of trees in the right place at the right scale and turbo-charge our timber industry,” Mr Hampton said.

“With the right policy settings Australia can reverse a decade-long decline in the nation’s plantation area, which is constraining Australia’s forest industries from reaching their full potential at a time of record global demand for renewable forest products.”

Mr Hampton said that with the Federal Government’s $20 million funding allocation in the 2018-19 Budget to progress a National Forestry Industry Plan that will be unveiled in September, there is bipartisan momentum to grow Australia’s annual $24 billion forest products industries.

“Mr Fitzgibbon’s commitment today comes on top of his recent pledge to deliver a ‘comprehensive strategic plan’ for forestry, and has opened the door for bipartisanship on growing Australia’s plantation estate and giving farmers a new revenue stream.  I urge the Government to seize this opportunity and remove these barriers as soon as possible,” Mr Hampton said.

“As AFPA’s recent publication 18 by 2030: Forest industries help tackle Australia’s climate challenge showed, our renewable forest industries can make a massive contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction target as well as create tens of thousands of new regional jobs around the country.

“Removing these barriers* will make an immediate difference in major timber processing regions where the current CFI restrictions restrict new plantings, such as Tumut and Oberon in NSW, Mount Gambier in South Australia, Colac in Victoria, and South-East Queensland,” Mr Hampton concluded.

*Plantations and farm forestry are currently constrained from competing in the carbon market by unnecessary restrictions in the Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies, which restrict new planting in areas with more than 600mm of annual rainfall for plantations, and 400mm for farm forestry. The plantations methodology contains safeguards around where trees can be planted – projects are restricted to National Plantation Inventory regions and are subject to approval by the Federal Minister for Agriculture.

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