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SA blindsided by Feds on grants for new plantations

David Basham

An incentive scheme proposed by the Federal Government for new forestry plantations across Australia requires state governments to contribute millions of dollars blindsiding the SA primary industries minister. Source: The Border Watch

Announced in Tasmania by Prime Minister Scott Morrison (last week), the Federal Government has committed $86.2 million over five years to help fund the grants scheme for new plantations across Australia.

Government funds will have to be matched dollar for dollar by the private sector.

Of the government contribution, 40% has been committed by the Federal Government which is expecting state governments to cover the remaining 60% of the contribution.

SA Minister for Primary Industries David Basham said he welcomed the announcement but could not commit to the scheme at this stage.

“The plan has not been discussed with the South Australian Government and we look forward to seeing further details,” Mr Basham said.

“The opportunity only applies to the South-East of South Australia, with the majority of funded areas across Tasmania and the eastern states.”

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Clare Scriven said while SA Labor supported any boost for forestry, the party needed further information.

“We really have very few details so far,” Ms Scriven said.

“There is no indication of how much of that figure would necessarily come to South Australia, and therefore we do not actually know how much the State Government contribution would need to be.

“It is a bit hard to commit to something when it is an unknown figure.”

Ms Scriven said she was looking forward to reviewing any further information provided to determine if Labor could support the scheme.

“It has come out of the blue a little bit; it seems like a very good headline but not much detail as of yet,” she said.

“It is really not clear at the moment what is envisaged.”

The particulars and conditions of the scheme are yet to be provided.

“None of that is clear as of yet, and all of it would need to be taken into account,” Ms Scriven said.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said he hoped both state parties would agree to the scheme.

“This investment is a clear indication that only a Morrison Government can be trusted to back-in the future of the forestry sector in the Green Triangle,” Mr Pasin said.

“We have worked hand-in-hand with industry to address the immediate and long-term challenges facing this sector and will continue to back them in every step of the way.”