Victorian Forestry Plan seedlings planted with landmark agreement
23 May 2022
Up to 5 million seedlings per year are set to be grown using reclaimed wastewater after VicForests signed a lease agreement with East Gippsland Water to create a new State Forest Nursery.
Seedlings grown at the nursery will assist in farm forestry initiatives and plantations.
The creation of the nursery supports Victoria’s transition from nature forest harvesting, in line with the Victorian Forestry Plan. It will directly employ a local workforce of up to 30 full-time, part-time and seasonal staff when fully operational, as well bring direct employment opportunities and economic benefits to the East Gippsland region throughout its construction phase.
VicForests will utilise land leased from East Gippsland Water in Holloway St, Bairnsdale for the nursery. The site will receive reclaimed wastewater from East Gippsland Water’s Bairnsdale Wastewater Treatment Plant, with a new class A wastewater treatment system also to be built to supply the nursery seedlings.
The project complements other initiatives being actively progressed in East Gippsland to promote integrated water management – that is making greater use of recycled water in place of potable water to promote water efficiency and conservation.
VicForests CEO Monique Dawson said the potential that this agreement unlocks, whether it is regenerating Victoria’s forests after timber harvesting or by employing locals in what will be the future of the State’s forestry industry, is a great achievement for all involved.
“Our work isn’t over yet, though, as our focus will now shift towards the construction of the nursery and getting that process underway.”
Following due diligence studies of all available sites, it was decided the nursery location would be on land leased from East Gippsland Water at 145 Holloway St, Bairnsdale, due to favourable geometry, water use, environmental and cultural values.
The Victorian Government’s Gippsland Plantations Investment Program is providing a $2 million grant to VicForests to establish and manage the nursery.
Quote attributable to East Gippsland Water’s Managing Director, Steve McKenzie:
“East Gippsland Water welcomes this unique opportunity to partner with VicForests on this far-reaching initiative that has the potential to deliver very tangible benefits in terms of furthering environmental and economic sustainability in a bushfire-ravaged region. We are delighted that our recycled water has a key and very beneficial role to play.”