Plantation promises – Where are they?

Australian Bluegum Plantations (ABP)

Media Release

7 March 2023

Plantation promises – Where are they?

As part of the 7th of November 2019 announcement, Securing the Future For Forestry Industry Workers from the Victorian State Government to phase out the Native Timber Industry, statements and promises were made at the time and more recently in regards to plantation supply for the Victorian timber industry and manufacturers.

The Andrews Labor Government in 2019 stated, “To assist businesses as they prepare for this transition, the Labor Government will provide dedicated funding to help local mills invest in new equipment that will allow them to process alternative timbers and support local jobs.”

President of Timber Towns Victoria, Cr Karen Stephens said “This glossy statement is far from the truth of what is happening. Mills are closing. Jobs have been lost. That is the hard cold truth.”

The Andrews Government also stated “That includes 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.”

Australian Paper was not transitioned to a full plantation-based supply and evidently, the paper lines of the mill will not be operating beyond 2023. Australia now has no capacity to manufacture white copy paper.

The Andrews Government then goes on to say “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.”

About a year after this initial announcement, it was announced that a $2 million grant was provided to VicForests to establish the $10 million Victorian Forest Nursery in Nowa Nowa in East Gippsland. This was subsequently scrapped.

There was no further action on the promise of plantations until in September 2022, the State Government planted the problem with a private plantation business – Planting Millions More Trees for Thousands Of Jobs. Yet it’s now March 2023, more than 3 years after the state Government announcement and promise of increasing the state supply of plantations, with no word of when or where these plantations will take place. 2030 is approaching faster than a plantation tree can grow to be harvested, and many can see that this will leave a huge shortfall of timber supply to the local chains.

The Andrews Government promised “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 workers the certainty they deserve.”

Cr Karen Stephens said “These promises are far from reality – we have not seen any plantations established since this announcement more than 3 years ago, and workers in the industry are facing more uncertainty than ever before, with many long term workers being stood down from the industry”

Another spokesperson for Timber Towns said “The kicker is, this is the Labour State Governments commitment (or lack of!) to our regions, coupled with the down and out deception to the public to date.

God help us with what will happen to the forest estate and looming environmental catastrophe that will wipe out the exact environs and ecosystems that they are preaching to protect, due to the ideological lock up of the forest estate.”

Karen Stephens

Timber Towns Victoria President

0488 900 6545

About Timber Towns Victoria

Timber Towns Victoria is the peak local government body for Victoria on forestry policy. It represents 12 Victorian Local Government areas with forestry industries on public or private land. In representing these local councils and the communities that work within the forestry and timber industries, TTV is committed to maintaining sustainable practices to ensure the industry continues into the future.

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For more information, contact Timber Towns Victoria President, Glenelg Shire Councillor Cr Karen Stephens, 0488 900 645 or email

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