Growing trees on working farms to help grow South Australia’s commercial forestry resources is part of a program being looked at by the Marshall Liberal Government and the Morrison Coalition Government.

Expanding the farm forestry sector could lead to the creation of future wood and fibre supplies, strengthen links between farmers and the forest industry and provide another economic return avenue for primary producers and other landowners.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the State Government is working with the Federal Government to develop the new farm forestry program.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is keen to expand the commercial forestry sector in South Australia and we believe a farm forestry program could increase our plantation estate by up to five per cent,” Minister Basham said.

“As part of this initiative we are looking at working with industry and the Federal Government to help farmers explore opportunities for expanding farm forestry on their properties.

“Farm forestry is a win-win situation where we can increase our state’s forestry resources while giving our farmers an extra revenue stream which will support both industries to grow and create jobs.

“This year we’ve seen just how sought after Australian timber products are with an explosion in the housing and commercial construction industries which has been great for our economy but has put pressure on our supply chains.

“Unfortunately, the former Labor Government sold off many of South Australia’s forestry reserves in the South East and Mid North removing our flexibility to support the timber industry during times of supply shortage.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has already been working closely with the Morrison Coalition Government as well as industry to deliver viable solutions to increase the amount of structural timber available to market in the short term such as a transport subsidy for fire-damaged logs as well as $2 million funding to help improve industry capacity.

“Farm forestry is an example of a program which could help supplies in the long term.

“The program could also encourage the uptake of carbon farming opportunities, supporting primary industries in their adaptation planning to reduce net emissions, and identifying economic opportunities as they meet the challenges associated with challenging seasonal conditions.

“Advice would also be provided to farmers and landowners on how commercial farm forestry activities including carbon sequestration through plantation forestry or farm forestry methods could benefit from the Emissions Reduction Fund.”