The South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA) has hailed the Albanese Government’s move to abolish a red tape barrier preventing new timber plantings participating in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). This action has delivered on a key Government’s election commitment to scrap the ‘water rule’, Chief Executive Officer of SAFPA Nathan Paine said today.
SAFPA has been in discussions with the South Australian Government about the importance of seeking the early removing the ‘water rule’, as access to the carbon market will incentivise investment in South Australia’s plantation and farm forestry estate which will lead to more trees in the ground to help meet our future fibre needs whilst at the same time helping the South Australian Government achieve its net zero targets.
In October 2022, the Federal Government announced a consultation process on the ‘water rule’ which prevented plantation and farm forestry project access to the carbon market in areas with annual average rainfall above 600mm – thereby holding back much need investment in new timber and fibre plantations in areas of South Australia with the exception of the Green Triangle and Kangaroo Island.
“The removal of this red tape barrier is great news because it will help us get more trees in the ground which will help us meet the fibre needs of the community tomorrow. COVID-19 showed us the importance of sovereign capability in fibre supply and today’s announcement by the Federal Government is a step forward in making that happen,” Nathan Paine said.
South Australia needs 50 million new production trees planted over the coming 5-10 years to secure our State’s future timber and fibre supply which will ensure that we are able to build sustainable houses for our children into the future.
“SAFPA has been pleased with the positive engagement with both the Deputy Premier and Minister for Environment and Water as well as the Minister for Forest Industries on our call for the need to remove the water rule and we look forward to working with the South Australian Government to identify new opportunities to get more trees into the ground.
“As a sector, we thank the Federal Government for its delivery of this key commitment and we will continue to work with our federal body, the Australian Forest Products Association in its engagement with Minister Watt and other Government Ministers on fibre security strategies to ensure we deliver sovereign fibre capability which will also helping South Australia realise its decarbonisation ambitions,” Mr Paine concluded