The South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA) has called on a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry into Matters Relating to the Timber Industry in the Limestone Coast and other Regions of South Australia to make urgent, bipartisan recommendations to support the planting of more trees in South Australia.
“The South Australian forest industries directly and indirectly employs over 21,300 South Australian’s, contributes almost $3 billion to the State’s economy each year and sequesters over 4.64 million tons of CO2e annually. Wood fibre and the forest sector his nationally critical but is facing a difficult future arising from a loss of estate in South Australia due to water policy and bushfire.
“We know that global demand for fibre is forecast to quadruple by 2050 and the recent timber framing shortage has shone a spotlight on the need for Australia to have sovereign capability in particular for house framing timber supply. This supply issue is compounded by new demand for fibre to produce bio-chemicals that replace fossil-fuel based plastics and biofuels such as green methanol”, continued Mr Paine.
“However, whilst demand is growing, our plantation estate is not. Over the last decade we have seen the loss of over 50,000 hectares of the estate. In the not so distant future, we will have significantly less log to process than we have today unless we see some urgent action to get more trees in the ground”.
“The Federal Government’s $86 million tree establishment fund is a great first start but we need to commit to the right policy settings here in South Australia to make sure that we are planting the trees that we need to meet tomorrow’s fibre demand”, said Mr Paine.
“SAFPA is pleased with the State Government’s support of the industry. Since the election government has been focused on protecting the trees that we are growing today as well as water policy settings. Now is time to turn our attention to getting more trees in the ground to meet the needs of the community tomorrow”.
“SAFPA looks forward to working with all members of the Committee, the Government and Opposition to ensure there is bipartisan support for our industry. We are a long-term industry; a pine seedling planted today will see over seven state elections before it is harvested in 30 years’ time”, concluded Mr Paine.