The State Government’s $21 million investment into Western Australia’s softwood industry has started, with the Forest Products Commission sowing the first of more than five million pines at the Manjimup nursery.
The recently launched Softwood Industry Strategy represents one of the most significant investments in the industry and will create jobs and provide continuity of supply of timber to the building and construction industry.
This year’s new plantations will be established in the Wellington and Blackwood districts.
FPC Acting General Manager Gavin Butcher said the Manjimup Nursery was currently sowing radiate pine and maritime pine seeds to meet the growing demand triggered by the Softwood Industry Strategy.
This year’s program will include approximately 3.5 million radiata pine and 1.25 million maritime pine seedlings and will focus on drought tolerant strains to improve production in areas of reduced rainfall.
“It is a significant increase on last year’s production where the nursery produced about 3.3 million pine seedlings,” Mr Butcher said.
“The increased demand has allowed FPC to hire more seasonal staff for a longer period to ensure there are enough seedlings.”
Mr Butcher said the strategy, which focuses on securing long-term supply to the manufacturing and processing hub in the South West, would see the expansion of the softwood estate by up to 10,000ha over the next five years.
“The softwood industry is a long-term business and the strategy will provide increased confidence and a solid framework for farmers and industry to invest,” Mr Butcher said
- The forestry industry in Western Australia is worth more than $1 billion annually
- For more information on the Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia visit http://www.fpc.wa.gov.au/softwoodstrategy