26 Mar 2013

Forest owners' levy vote deadline approaches

2:30 pm on 26 March 2013

Forest owners have until Friday to vote on whether the industry should replace voluntary funding arrangements with a compulsory levy.

The Forest Owners and Farm Forestry Associations are behind the levy proposal.

Their members, who account for more than 80% of the plantation forest area, already pay voluntary levies towards research and other programmes that benefit the whole sector, but there are thousands of other forestry growers who don't contribute.

The plan is to introduce an across-the-board levy of 27 cents per cubic metre of harvested logs in the first year.

Forest Owners chief executive David Rhodes says they need to get at least 50% approval, both in terms of forestry area and voting numbers and they appear to be on track for that.

If the levy goes ahead, 60-70% of the amount raised would go towards science and research funding.

Voting on the levy closes at 5 pm on Friday.