As the Treasurer delivered his first budget on Tuesday night, opportunities arise for forestry to play a bigger part in the fight against climate change, Deb Kerr, CEO of the Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA), said today.
In addition to funding forestry research, Treasurer Jim Chalmers committed to building one million new houses from 2024, including more affordable homes.
“We should build these homes with locally grown wood for frames, insulation, and fit-outs. And instead of relying on imports, we need to increase our plantation estate,” said Deb Kerr.
“As Victoria’s population is set to nearly double by mid-century, we need to grow more trees to meet the future demand in our cities and regions. Businesses outside metro areas struggle to attract workers because of housing shortages and exploding rents. Both the Federal and State Governments need to have the right policies to ensure the regions don’t miss out,” Ms Kerr continued.
The benefits of prioritising and supporting timber are obvious:
- Planting new trees will capture more carbon
- Wood products used in buildings will store carbon for their lifecycle
- Locally grown wood means fewer imports and a smaller carbon footprint as well as supporting the domestic workforce
- Research from the Potsdam Institute shows that building new homes with more timber and fibre is critical to fighting climate change – and this is also recognised by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
“Victoria’s forest industries will play an increasingly important role in providing essential products while helping Victoria reach its emissions reduction targets. We produce house frames, kitchen cupboards, cardboard packaging and much more, and we welcome the Federal Government’s recognition of the sector in the Federal Budget,” Deb Kerr concluded.
Read more about VFPA’s Victorian election policy platform here.