New forestry measures
The Australian Government’s A Better Future for our Regions and A Future Grown in Australia policies, establish the government’s commitment to Australia’s forest industries. They aim to strengthen, support and continue a sustainable forestry sector now and into the future.
The government will deliver a suite of initiatives totalling over $300 million to support Australia’s forest industries to innovate and improve the capacity and capability of the sector. The government will also reserve $500 million of its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund specifically for agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food and fibre.
Support Plantation Establishment program
The Australian Government has reframed the Support Plantation Establishment program and committed through the 2022–23 Budget $73.76 million in grant funding over four years from 2023–24. The funding supports the establishment of new long-rotation softwood and hardwood plantation forests in Australia.
The program aims to expand our domestic timber supply, particularly construction and manufacturing timber resources, contribute to Australia’s carbon emission reduction targets, and support regional communities through the retention and creation of regional jobs.
Grants are open to private industry, First Nations businesses, farm foresters and state and territory government forestry bodies. The grants require applicants to provide a co-contribution equal to the grant amount.
Further information and apply today on the Community Grants Hub.
Forestry Workforce Training Program
The Australian Government is investing $10 million over four years in the Forestry Workforce Training Program. The program will support the delivery of skills and training to meet the requirements of Australia’s forest and wood products sectors.
Australia’s forest and wood products industries supply the nation with products for building and construction, packaging and many essential household products and require a specialised workforce to produce these products. An issue faced by these industries is accessing the specific training and credentials required for the workforce.
The forestry industry is a significant employer in rural and regional Australia, directly employing 52,000 people. Due to the remote location and ageing workforce, increased participation in the workforce by First Nations Australians and women will be increasingly important.
To ensure that the program address the issues faced by the forest and wood products industries and the education and training sector, the Australian Government has contracted ForestWorks Ltd to undertake a scoping study.
The scoping study will provide an overview of the existing education and training sectors that service the forest and wood products industries, outline the barriers and present an overview of existing and predicted skills and training needs in the industry. It will provide information and recommendations on how to increase the participation of First Nations Australians in forestry industries and enhance the gender balance within the forestry workforce. The outcomes of the scoping study will inform the design and implementation of the Forestry Workforce Training Program.
A crucial part of the scoping study is engaging with the different industries, government agencies and industries bodies to understand the needs and issues impacting them. ForestWorks Ltd will be conducting stakeholder consultation with a wide range of stakeholder groups in June 2023, with the final scoping study to be submitted to DAFF by the end of 2023.
Australia-wide National Institute of Forest Products Innovation
The Australian Government has signed an agreement with the University of Tasmania (UTas) to establish and manage the Australia-wide National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) until 2026-27.
The administration centre for the NIFPI will be based at the University of Tasmania in Launceston. NIFPI will operate under the new name of - Australian Forest and Wood Innovations. Australian Forest and Wood Innovations (AFWI) will be supported by three regional research centres, including one in Launceston.
AFWI will support transformative research, development and innovation for Australia’s timber industry, while also supporting the training and development of forest industries researchers.
Investing in forestry research and innovation will allow Australia to make better use of our production forests, value-add to these resources and increase the economic contribution of the forest and wood products sector to the Australian economy.
More information is available on the AFWI page.
Extending the Regional Forestry Hubs
An additional $8.6 million over 3 years has been committed to continue the 11 Regional Forestry Hubs to June 2027.
This additional funding will allow the Hubs to continue to provide strategic planning, technical assessments and analyses to support growth in their regions. The role of the Hubs is being expanded to include extension services to enable the Hubs to inform local industries and landholders of the outcomes of the research and innovation work, in particular from the Australia-wide NIFPI. The Hubs will not provide individual business advice.
Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation Program
The Australian Government has committed up to $110 million in grant funding through the Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation Program.
The program supports the medium to long-term sustainability of wood processers by stimulating investment in upgrades to existing manufacturing lines, as well as supporting innovation to diversify domestic products.
By supporting wood processing facilities to use innovative technologies in their production, the Australian forestry industry will be able to supply more of Australia’s wood demands into the future.
Grant applications for the Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation Program have closed.
More information is available on the Accelerate Adoption of Wood Processing Innovation Program page.
Protecting Australia from illegally logged timber products
This Australian Government is investing $4.4 million over two years to combat illegally logged products from entering the Australian market. The investment will trial timber testing technologies under Australia’s illegal logging laws that can expose illegally logged timber and false claims made by traders.
This will be complemented by measures advancing the profiling of problematic timber imports through earlier data collection. It will be further strengthened by measures to accredit Australian testing labs and expand their databases for timber species of most concern.
The Australia's State of the Forests Report states Australia has 134 million hectares of forest, covering 17% of Australia's land area. This is comprised of 132 million hectares of native forest and 0.47 million hectares of other forest.
ABARES' forest and wood products statistics, report Australia has 1.74 million hectares of commercial plantations.
Australia has around 3% of the world's forests and globally has the seventh largest forest area. Australia's native forests are dominated by eucalypts (77%), acacias (8%) and melaleucas (5%). About half of Australia's plantations are exotic softwood (predominantly Pinus radiata), while the other half are hardwood (predominantly eucalypt species such as Eucalyptus globulus).
Australia’s forests are diverse, extensive, and highly regarded for their ecological, economic and social values. They provide a range of benefits including wood and non-wood forest products and ecosystem services including:
- water protection and supply
- soil protection
- carbon storage and sequestration
- habitat for flora and fauna species
- tourism and recreation
- cultural values for both non-Indigenous and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Australia has a well-established institutional framework to support the conservation and sustainable management of forests.
The Australian Government aims to foster and enable productive, profitable, internationally competitive and sustainable Australian forest and forest products industries.
Detailed information on Australia's forests is available from the Australia’s State of the Forests Report series that are published every 5 years. Preparation of the reports is a commitment made by governments in the National Forest Policy Statement. Reports have been published in 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018.
ABARES also publishes comprehensive datasets relating to Australia's forestry sector in its biannual Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics report, including time series of data on:
- forest and wood products resources