Australia’s wood products industry has always depended on government to grow its trees. In the 1960s and 1970s vast areas of native forest were converted to pine plantations largely funded by Commonwealth loans most of which were never repaid. In the 1980s and 1990s extraordinarily generous tax deductions paid for a million hectares of eucalypt plantations through Managed Investment Schemes (MIS).
In May 2010 after the global financial crisis but before most of the MIS schemes had gone under Dr Judith Ajani analysed the state of the industry in a seminar at ANU’s Fenner School titled: Australia’s forestry crisis – how it happened and what to do
What’s changed since 2010? – the MIS companies all collapsed leaving thousands of investors with huge losses; the industry remains fixated on having the government plant more trees; Commonwealth government policies relating to forests, logging, clearing and climate remain hopelessly confused and counter-productive.
Oh, and the federal government is now allowing plantations to claim carbon credits under the Emissions Reduction Fund and looks likely to throw more money at this failed program.
Figures and referencesAjani 2010 - figures and references