Talking Timber - the Conversation

A lockdown is a short-term solution to mitigate a state of emergency. It is not a viable long term sustainable solution. With this in mind, it’s very hard to understand why our Government is now planning to lock down Victoria’s public forests by 2030 without a conversation about alternative timber supply strategies for our growing population. It does seem all too easy for a Government to make an ill-considered, politically-motivated decision that perversely pushes problems onto our neighbours and future generations of Victorians. Architects, builders designers and homeowners will no longer be able to specify and use locally grown and manufactured victorian hardwood from 2030.

Talking Timber aims to promote meaningful discussion about alternative strategies. We believe these strategies should pursue the following broad concepts:

  • Victoria’s ancient forests should continue to be protected.
  • Victoria’s regrowth forests in state forests will be responsibly managed to protect their unique values.
  • Regrowth forest management will include opportunities for the highest-value timber production from suitable, independently-certified areas.
  • Realistic plans for the expansion of high-value hardwood plantation forests on degraded farmland.
  • Genuine promotion for the integration of agroforestry into farming systems.

We believe this is the most responsible position for Victorians who love timber and trees and want to live in a state that proudly and responsibly grows and manages most of its own timber needs.
Victoria is blessed with over 7.6 million hectares of native forest. Over 3.3 million hectares is locked up in nature reserves and national parks and can never be harvested. The balance of just over 3 million hectares is in state parks, part of which can be used for timber production. Less than 3000 hectares of regrowth forest or 0.1% of what’s available is harvested each year and every tree harvested is replanted or regenerated. Looking at these statistics, locking up all our natural forests is a huge overreaction. Unfortunately, it is an overreaction that comes with significant consequences. Victoria’s reduced timber supply in conjunction with its increased timber demands adds further pressure on timber imports to fill the void. This has a strong potential to destroy primitive forests in other parts of the world.

Victoria has just proved its resilience in 2020 and adapted from all sorts of problems during our COVID-19 lockdown. Let’s put our thinking hats back on and work through these complex timber supply issues.

Imagine a future with Victoria being a world leader in responsible forest management and timber production! where we meet all our timber supply needs, create a safer environment from bushfires, increase biodiversity, preserve primitive forests at home and abroad, absorb more carbon than we can produce and live in energy-efficient homes using responsibly sourced timber.