A future Labor Government will review the water rule restrictions with the aim to remove the existing rules in both the plantations and farm forestry Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies, to ensure the forestry sector can compete on a level playing field and to play a bigger role in a lower carbon future.
Labor has been working closely with the forestry sector to understand the barriers preventing it reaching its full potential. We agree with the statement from the Australian Forestry Products Association Chair, Mr Greg McCormack that “With the right policy settings our Forest Industries can have an even brighter future.”
A key ask from the forestry sector is a review of both the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Regulation the removal of the 600mm rainfall restriction for new plantations. Another is a review the existing ERF farm forestry method to encourage aggregation, reduce audit and transaction costs, and remove the rainfall restriction, which limits farm forestry to 100ha where rainfall is of 400mm or more.
Labor acknowledges that the Turnbull Government is to deliver a forestry plan on 12 September 2018.
Disappointingly, the Abbott/Turnbull Governments have been slow to provide a comprehensive future forestry plan after five years of Government.
Nevertheless, Labor will seek to provide a bi-partisan approach to forestry policy and will consider the plan in detail once it released, but we expect to see the Turnbull Government commit to reviewing the water rule restrictions as a starting point.