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Victoria’s plantations add $600m to economy

Victoria’s plantation forestry sector injects more than $600 million into the state’s economy each year, a figure the Victorian Association of Forest Industries Inc. (VAFI) says must be taken seriously by the State and Federal governments. Source: Timberbiz

VAFI CEO, Tim Johnston, said in 2017-18 Victoria continued to have the largest total area of commercial plantations in Australia, driven by three of Victoria’s largest plantation companies: Australian Bluegum Plantations, HVP Plantations and PF Olsen Australia.

“With the winter planting season now underway, these three major plantation growers are deploying 600 people to collectively plant nearly 20 million seedlings across 18,200 hectares in Victoria, with a level of investment close to $32 million,” he said.

“Continued development and ongoing investment in Victoria’s plantation estate is economically crucial to the industry and to regional economies, as it generates resource for local processing facilities, export markets and contributes significantly to economic growth and development in these important rural areas.”

Across Australia there are a total of 1,942,700 hectares of plantations. Victoria has 196,300 hectares of hardwood plantation and 223,400 hectares of softwood plantation, for a total of 420,600 hectares. This represents 21.65% of the national estate.

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), in 2017‒2018 Victoria continued to have the largest total area of commercial plantations of Australia’s states and territories, confirming Victoria’s position as the engine room for the Australian industry.

In the past 11 years the direct economic contribution of hardwood plantation production to the Victorian state economy has multiplied by 12, from $21 million per annum in 2006-2007 to $362 million per annum in 2017-2018.

“In 2017-2018 the total value of timber harvested in Victoria was $707 million before processing, which includes $103 million of native timber, $262 million of hardwood plantation timber and $341 million of softwood plantation timber,” Mr Johnston said.

“In the Green Triangle area of Victoria, each direct job in hardwood plantations generates a further 1.3 jobs through flow-on economic activity. Given the importance of the forest and wood products industry to regional communities and local economies, VAFI will continue to advocate for plantation development across Victoria,” Mr Johnston said.