The Victorian government is investing in a new plantation estate to support thousands of jobs in Gippsland as part of its effort to increase timber supply.
As part of an agreement with Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP), the Labor Government will invest $120 million – the single biggest investment in plantation establishment in the state’s history – to plant an additional 16 million trees.
“This is all about guaranteeing the jobs in the timber sector that Victorian workers and communities rely on – as we expand Gippsland’s softwood supply, we’re delivering new opportunities for our timber industry,” Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney said.
The new plantation will support 2,000 new and existing jobs in regional Victoria, covering an area equivalent to 7,000 MCGs.
“This is the biggest investment in Victorian history in new plantation establishment – making sure we have a strong, sustainable timber supply for decades to come,” Minister Tierney said.
As one of the largest plantation companies in Australia, HVP will match Labor’s investment almost dollar-for-dollar to purchase, lease, and manage more than 14,000 hectares.
“HVP Plantations welcomes the opportunity to work with the Government to deliver one of the most significant plantation forestry developments in the last 20 years,” Hancock Victorian Plantations Chief Executive Officer Stephen Ryan said.
To protect timber supply for our construction industry, the new plantations have the potential to bring international processors to the region – boosting the state’s production of much-needed building products.
The investment will also contribute to Victoria’s nation-leading emissions reduction targets by removing approximately 7.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years – the equivalent of removing more than 60,000 cars from the road per year.
“This investment will deliver one of Australia’s largest softwood plantations to Gippsland, and it is a vital part of industry support and jobs growth as transition continues across the region,” Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing.
“We are determined to support Gippsland workers and projects now and into the future, continuing our record funding for projects across the region,” Shing said.
Investing in Gippsland Plantations underpins the Victorian Forestry Plan – the Labor Government’s roadmap to ensure a long-term and sustainable future for Victoria’s forestry industry.
Australia’s largest timber plantation estate is located in Victoria, where five out of six trees harvested are from plantations. By the end of the investment, it will be six out of six.
It is anticipated that planting will begin in 2023, pending final approvals.
More information is available on vic.gov.au/plantations.