Currently five out of six trees harvested in Victoria are from plantations.
Victoria has 382,600 hectares of plantations. It is the biggest plantation estate in Australia with 22% of the national estate.
Victoria produces around one quarter of Australia’s plantation grown wood. The industry generates an average of $500 million in value per year and has the largest export volume at around 5.3 million m³ per year.
Most of the softwood processing sector in Victoria use radiata pine (Pinus radiata).
Radiata pine is versatile and fast growing. It produces a range of wood products including structural sawn timber for buildings, plywood and paper and packaging. Growing radiata pine is efficient and comes with very little wasted timber, as all parts of the log have a use.
Hardwood plantations in Victoria are mainly grown for pulpwood export. In 2020-21 Victoria produced 31% of hardwood pulpwood in Australia. There are also some areas of small-scale hardwood plantation grown for sawn timber production, often as farm forestry projects.
Economic growth and plantations
The Victorian plantation growing and processing sector is an important part of the state’s economy and supports regional jobs, growth and economies.
In 2015 the Victorian plantation and growing sector generated approximately $3.26 billion to the state’s economy. $2.5 billion of this came from softwood supply chains. The gross regional product from the Victorian plantation and processing sector was estimated at $1.4 billion.
Victorian Forestry Plan – Gippsland Plantations Investment Program
The Gippsland Plantations Investment Program (GPIP) is part of the government’s commitment to grow more plantations.
The Victorian Government has partnered with HVP Plantations to invest $120 million to plant 16 million trees over the next 10 years.
HVP Plantations is one of the largest private plantation forestry companies in Australia and will match the government funds.
More than 14,000 hectares of softwood plantations will be planted over the next 5 to 10 years under the program.
GPIP will create more than 100 new jobs through the seedling production, planting and caring for the plantations. It will also support at least 900 direct processing jobs in Gippsland and an estimated 900 flow-on jobs.
GPIP has the potential to bring new global-scale processors to the Gippsland region and boost the state’s production of much needed building products. This will support Victoria’s growing population and protect construction timber supply from future shocks over the long-term.
The GPIP will also contribute to the state’s emissions reduction targets by sequestering approximately 7.8 million tonnes of C02e (carbon dioxide equivalent) over the next 25 years. This is equal to removing approximately 60,000 cars from the road per year.
New GPIP plantations are not intended to replace native timber tree for tree. They will not be ready when native timber volume reduces in 2024 or when harvesting ends in 2030.
The GPIP has been designed to take into account Gippsland’s:
- valuable agricultural activities
- community expectations
- regional concerns about land prices
- water constraints
- fire risk.