Creating jobs is the first priority of the Hodgman Liberal Government, and it’s why we are committed to rebuilding the forest industry.
Forestry is a key employer of Tasmanians, particularly in regional communities, and a resurgent industry that is growing in confidence has the potential to create many new jobs across our State.
Today, I am pleased to announce funding of $250,000 to help complete a feasibility study into a $115-145 million plantation fibre-only wood pellet plant in Tasmania that would deliver 55 new jobs.
New Forests Asset Management Pty Ltd is progressing a $5 million study and has already completed pre-feasibility work showing encouraging results.
The feasibility study will fully investigate the viability for an advanced wood pellet plan to be established in Northern Tasmania.
Analysis undertaken by New Forests has indicated a significant market for advanced wood pellets in Japan, where there is an active policy framework to support increased renewable energy generation.
Advanced wood pellets are a sustainable and renewable energy option that can be directly substituted for coal in existing large power stations.
This project would, if it proceeds, open up a new export market for Tasmania, putting our State at the forefront of new renewable energy markets.
The pellet plant would be expected to employ 25 full-time equivalent workers on site, with an estimated 30 jobs in raw material processing and supply.
The Liberal Government’s funding support for the feasibility study is another example of how we are working constructively with the forest industry to identify and seize new opportunities.
Our commitment sends a strong signal to both investors and potential customers that the project is supported by the Tasmanian Government as a long-term, sustainable value-adding enterprise.
The Office of the Coordinator-General has been in discussions with New Forests on the proposal as it has developed over the past 12 months.
New Forests is a significant player in our forest industry, with its investments in the State including the Timberlink Australia sawmill, the Taswood softwood plantation estate and Forico Pty Ltd.
This commitment by New Forests to exploring new investment opportunities for further value-adding demonstrates why there is growing confidence in Tasmania’s forest industry.