Lease Traveston land for timber production: Timber Qld

QUEENSLAND'S peak timber body has called on the Newman Government to use the Mary Valley land bought for the defunct Traveston Dam for timber production.

Rather than sell the hundreds of properties acquired by the previous State Government at a loss, the State should consider leasing the land to grow timber plantations, Timber Queensland CEO Rod McInnes said.

Leasing the land to plantation growers for a 99 year lease would provide immediate financial returns while preserving the land in State ownership for potential sale in the future, he said.

"Plantation trials have been done before so we know that you can successfully develop a plantation industry in the area.

"Not only would this provide extra jobs for the region in plantation establishment, management and sawmilling, it would enable the land to be used for other industries that work effectively in concert with plantations, for example grazing, bee-keeping and recreation."

Mr McInnes said Queensland was currently unable to meet its timber needs from local production and that forecasts predict our consumption will double by 2040.

"Establishing plantations in this area will allow production of much needed timber resource for Queensland's future requirements," he said.

"It can then be processed in the Gympie region, already the centre of timber production and where all necessary infrastructures exist."

Mr McInnes said growing and processing timber in the area would also deliver the State considerable environmental benefits.

"Every cubic metre of timber we can grow locally, rather than fuelling ships and trucks to bring wood to Queensland, will store carbon emissions from the nearby major transport corridor."

"We estimate there is approximately 7000ha of land suitable for plantations in the area, which would permanently store 1.4 million tonnes of carbon in the plantations and the wood products manufactured from the 85,000 m3 sawn timber that could be harvested for Queensland's use each year.

"It's is a win - win - win - win situation:  the State gets an income from the land use while retaining it for future use consideration, the land can support other uses whilst the trees are growing, jobs will be established and the environment benefits.

"This is an idea that needs serious consideration."