Softwood Plantation Investment Program

In 2021, the WA Government announced a $350 million investment to grow the State’s softwood plantation timber estate.
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Over 10 years, the FPC will acquire suitable land in the South West to develop as pine plantations that will help secure the future of WA’s softwood industry. Timber from these plantations will supply the softwood processing sector and support the State’s housing and construction industry, while also supporting the State’s response to climate change. Well managed plantations deliver a wide range of economic, environmental and social benefits to Western Australian communities:

  • Resource security to the State’s housing and construction industry by reducing dependence on timber imports.
  • Absorb carbon and release oxygen.
  • Create jobs and investment in regional communities.
  • Support employment of over 1,900 people.
  • Inject millions of dollars into the economy each year through harvesting and management activities.

Program snapshot to December 2023

The $350 million investment to secure WA’s softwood plantation estate is moving into an exciting phase of growth. Not only are new plantations being established at increasing rates, but more freehold land continues to be purchased to ensure the longevity of WA’s timber supply.

Photo of pine seedlings

Fire management

Fire protection is critical to the long-term security of WA’s plantation timber resource. As the investment in the softwood estate increases over coming years, it is important that fire mitigation measures and response structures are in place to protect regional communities and the plantation estate from the threat of bush fire.

Our approach includes:

  • building response capacity in partnership with DBCA, DFES, Volunteer Bushfire Brigades and other industry participants.
  • implementing mitigation measures including fuel reduction, water point development, firebreak construction and improvements to access.
  • staff regularly attending Regional and Shire Bushfire Advisory (ROAC/BFAC) meetings to brief Chief Executive Officers and Fire Control Officers about FPC’s operational activities.
  • working closely with DFES Regional staff to ensure they are aware of the plantations across the region, the mitigation measures being established and the economic value of the softwood plantation estate to WA.
  • integrating the FPC’s Plantation Fire Management planning into existing local government Bushfire Risk Management Plans allows a consistent approach to reducing the fire risk across the broader landscape.
  • providing significant support to DFES Rural Fire Division in developing and delivering the new Plantation Firefighter training module.
  • providing new neighbours and local bushfire volunteers with familiarisation opportunities, field trips and maps of newly acquired plantations to outline the strategic mitigation response measures being developed.

Community Fire Protection Grants

The FPC’s Community Fire Protection grants were launched in 2023 and provide up to $10,000 per grant to support volunteer fire brigades and other relevant organisations with their fire prevention, preparedness, and response activities.

The program prioritised applications that align with the FPC’s strategic focus linked to its Softwood Plantation Investment Program; that increase understanding of plantation fire management; and deliver the greatest benefits to local communities.

Grants totalling $66,630 were awarded to 11 recipients for telecommunications and firefighting equipment as well as water tanks and water pumping supplies.

These grants provide resources over and above the existing funding arrangements available to volunteer fire brigades through the Emergency Services Levy.

Engaging with our stakeholders

Plantations contribute to the diversity and value of local communities, providing unique opportunities for partnership and regional employment. Factual information is key as there can be misunderstanding and misconceptions about plantations and the State government’s Softwood Plantation Investment program.

We are listening to and working with local communities as we move through the land acquisition and plantation establishment process to ensure we have positive relationships with our neighbours and local communities.

Local governments are a key stakeholder group, both before, during and after the land acquisition takes place.

We also have local FPC representatives who liaise directly with neighbours and other stakeholders to answer questions and provide any information they require in relation to our plans.

The Forestry Minister meets with industry groups to discuss the issues we are trying to address and the details of the investment. In addition, the FPC also attends relevant local community events to educate and inform people about plantation forestry, the lifecycle of pine and the Softwood Plantation Investment Program.

Climate Change action

The Softwood Plantation Investment Program is expected to lead to the generation of up to 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents making a significant contribution towards the State’s target of becoming net zero by 2050.

Work to date:

  • Amendment to the Forest Products Act 2000 allowing the FPC to purchase land, trade in carbon credits and generate revenue from the carbon sequestered in our softwood estate.
  • Contribution to the implementation of the Western Australian Climate Change Policy.
  • New plantations registered as carbon sequestration projects under the ACCU Scheme.

The year ahead

Continue identifying suitable land for plantation establishment and progress land acquisitions.

  • Perform a remote sensing aerial scan of the new plantations to create a ‘digital twin’ that will deliver opportunities for precision forestry in the future.
  • Register newly established plantations under the ACCU Scheme to generate carbon credits.
  • Report on existing ACCU Scheme projects, with issuance of FPC’s first ACCUs anticipated in 2024.
  • Liaise with Local Governments and other stakeholder groups on new trails and cycling access in and through our new plantations.
  • Silviculture work to manage the newly established plantations and prepare new properties for planting in 2024, plus work at the FPC Manjimup nursery to propagate and grow over 4 million seedlings in advance of the 2024 planting season.

What type of properties are we looking for?

Plantation investment will be focused in processing centres and on properties that:

  • are within a reasonable distance from processing facilities;
  • located in areas which have at least 600 mm annual rainfall in order to support healthy plantation growth; and
  • have greater than 100 hectares of the property suitable for pine plantations.

Do you know of land that may be suitable and available for plantations?

Please get in touch with us if you have a property that you think we may be interested in.

Name: David Guille
Phone: (08) 9845 5639