Agribusiness & Food

Victoria to support native timber community transition

A timber company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Flinders Ports to exclusively develop a port operating model for a proposed seaport on Kangaroo Island.

Grants of up to $400,000 will be launched to support 11 Victorian forestry communities transition away from using native timber and seek new job opportunities.

The Local Development Strategy grants will be available to communities where native timber harvesting and processing is an important source of jobs and economic activity.

Areas where groups will be eligible for Local Development Strategy grants are Noojee, Benalla, Orbost, Swifts Creek, Nowa Nowa, Koondrook, Murrindindi area (Alexandra, Taggerty and Marysville), Corryong, Heyfield, Yarram, Yarra Ranges (Powelltown, Yarra Junction and Warburton).

The grants aim to place power in the community’s hands and will be available to local groups who can work with their council and the Victorian Forestry Plan Transition Team to help safeguard the community’s economic future.

This is expected to include long-term diversification planning to support local economies and help adapt to new industries – increasing job opportunities for workers.

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Implementation of the community plans will be supported by the $36 million Victorian Forestry Plan Transition Fund, which will be available more broadly across the state.

The Forestry Business Transition Voucher program has also been extended to allow more forestry businesses to apply for tailored and specialist support.

Voucher applications are now open until 30 November 2021, with up to $25,000 available to help forestry-dependent businesses assess their capabilities, options and strategies for transition.

“We’re supporting workers and their families through this time of change with an inclusive plan for the transition away from native timber harvesting,” Victorian Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said.

“This funding will put power directly into the hands of local communities – helping them plan for the future based on their strengths and priorities.”

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