Thursday, 7 November 2019


The Andrews Labor Government has today acted to ensure a long-term and sustainable future for Victoria’s forestry industry – and for the local workers who rely on it.

As consumer and retailer demand grow for plantation timber products and a reduction in available native timber resources due to fire and wildlife protection, the Labor Government has unveiled a new 30-year plan to support the sector as it transitions.

Under the Victorian Forestry Plan, $120 million will be set aside to ensure the industry is fully supported, backing long-term sustainable jobs and giving local workers confidence about their future.

VicForests will extend existing timber supply agreements until 2024, after which native timber supply will be stepped down before ending in 2030.

In addition, logging in remaining old growth forests will cease immediately, protecting around 90,000 hectares, with all logging in native forests across the state to stop by 2030.

To assist businesses as they prepare for this transition, the Labor Government will provide funding to help local mills invest in new equipment that will allow them to process alternative timbers and support local jobs.

That includes Maryvale’s Australian Paper, which will be supported to transition to a full plantation-based supply, ensuring it operates until at least 2050 – providing support to its almost 1,000-strong workforce and stability to its customers.

Additional funding will go to ensure industry employees are afforded the certainty and security they deserve, with support for impacted workers to access re-employment and re-training services. The plan will also help fund community projects that support local businesses and help create local jobs.

A Consultative Committee with representatives from industry, VicForests, unions, local councils and government will also be established as a priority to ensure the transition is managed fairly.

Today’s announcement builds on the Government’s existing efforts to increase our state’s supply of plantation timber, with a record $110 million allocated in the Victorian Budget 2017/18 to help ensure ongoing access to affordable, locally-produced paper products.

The first of those plantation trees – 250,000 blue gum seedlings – were planted near Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill earlier this year.

In providing a 30-year forward plan, we’re creating a new, more sustainable future for this industry – but just as importantly, we’re giving local workers the certainty they deserve.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“This transition will be a challenge for many and require careful planning, support and engagement with industry, unions, workers and local communities across the region – particularly given the important role that forestry has played in our history, and the contribution that it has made to our state.”

“As we work towards 2030, it will be vital that there are dedicated supports in place, including through ongoing investment in innovation, skills and training, technology and jobs.”