An AU$120 million investment will fund the plantation of 16 million trees in regional Victoria in collaboration with Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP), who are expected to match the state government’s investment. The trees will be planted on 14,000 hectares across Gippsland — and the state government says it will “underpin” 2,000 new and existing jobs in regional Victoria.
In 2019, the state government announced it would cease large-scale native forest harvesting in state forests by 2030. Once approved, plantings are expected to begin next year and should lead to all harvested trees being sourced from plantations — an increase from the current 83 per cent.
HVP chief executive Stephen Ryan said the plantations would be on greenfield sites. “This is an eight to-10-year program. So, we’ll do it in a very calculated manner that won’t cause any disruption to the market,” he said.
“We won’t be going after prime agricultural land either — we can’t afford that, and we don’t need it. There has been no expansion of the softwood plantation industry in Australia for over 20 years” Mr Ryan said.
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