State-owned native timber

The South East Queensland Forests Agreement

The South East Queensland Forests Agreement (SEQFA) was signed by the Queensland Government, the timber industry and the conservation sector in 1999. The agreement, along with arrangements in other regions, aimed to eventually end timber production in State forests to allow transition of these areas to the conservation estate.

The agreement put in place long-term sales permits (supply contracts) for the supply of State-owned native timber from the SEQ supply region. In South East Queensland (SEQ), these end on 31 December 2024. A hardwood plantation program was also commenced, which was intended to provide an alternative, plantation-based resource to the industry.

How the native timber industry action plan relates to the SEQFA

The native timber industry action plan presents a process that will refresh the SEQFA for a new generation. It recognises that the industry faces new and unexpected challenges, including that the hardwood plantation program has not delivered an alternative resource, and that the conservation outcomes sought through the SEQFA continue to remain important.

What is happening in SEQ?

State-owned native timber production will end in the SEQ Regional Plan area on 31 December 2024.

The SEQ Regional Plan area includes Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands, Sunshine Coast and Noosa.

State-owned native timber production will continue in the balance of the SEQ supply region, the Eastern hardwoods region, which includes areas in Wide Bay, through to 31 December 2026.

What will happen in the SEQ Regional Plan area?

State-owned native timber production will end in the SEQ Regional Plan area on 31 December 2024.

The outcome of the SEQFA—to transfer high-value conservation areas to the protected area estate—still remains an important priority. Reflecting this, a commitment has been made to progressively transfer up to 20 000 hectares of State forest land in the SEQ Regional Plan area to the conservation estate before 2024.

Timber production the Eastern hardwoods region

State-owned native timber production will continue in the Eastern hardwoods region until 31 December 2026.

This region includes areas around Wide Bay such as Gympie, Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Gladstone and the majority of South Burnett, as well as small areas to the east of Toowoomba and Southern Downs.

As part of the SEQFA, the government commenced a native hardwood plantation program. These plantations were to support the transition of the industry to alternative resources after 2024 in SEQ. However, the hardwood plantation program was not successful.

Allowing timber production to continue in the Eastern hardwoods region to 31 December 2026 recognises this has occurred, and provides time to undertake the work needed to make future decisions.

The Western hardwoods region

The ‘rolling-term’ sales permits in the Western hardwoods region currently end in 2034. These ‘rollover’ annually by 1 additional year unless a decision is made not to grant this extension.

These annual extensions will no longer be granted. As these permits include supply volumes that were not supported by forest resource assessments, sustainable harvesting levels are unknown. Ending the annual extensions will allow for the outcomes of forest resource assessments to be implemented as early as possible.

Current permit holders in the region have guaranteed supply until 2034.

Other regions and cypress supply

A number of short-term sales permits are in place in Central and North Queensland. In Northern Cape York a small number of long-term permits (up to 10 years) are in place.

For native cypress supply, long-term sales permits are in place until 2037.

No decisions have been made as yet regarding these regions and cypress supply. Future decisions will be informed by outcomes of assessments into sustainable long-term supply options for hardwood and cypress timber across Queensland.

Why undertake assessments of sustainable supply options?

We will be completing a comprehensive study into sustainable, future supply options for native hardwood timber, with an initial focus on the Eastern hardwoods region. A major study of future, sustainable long-term supply options for hardwood and cypress timber across all regions will also be undertaken.

These studies will aim to determine how sustainable long-term supply can be achieved. This needs to be determined through detailed resource assessment that considers the available native forest resources, forest growth rates and the level of harvesting (or ‘yield’) that is sustainable. Consideration also has to be given to the area of forested land that is available for timber production.