What is the Timber Innovation Grants Program?
The Timber Innovation Grants Program is a grant opportunity to help forestry businesses transition from native timber harvesting to plantation fibre and also to investigate manufacturing opportunities.
Over the last ten years, the availability of native timber for harvesting has decreased by around half, due mainly to bushfires and setting aside forest for wildlife protection. At the same time, consumer and retailer demand has grown for plantation timber products.
The Victorian Government has developed the Victorian Forestry Plan to assist the timber industry as it manages its gradual transition away from native forest harvesting to a plantation-based timber supply.
Under the 30-year plan, a $120 million package will provide workers, businesses and communities the time and the support they need for this transition.
Further rounds of the Timber Innovation Grants Program are planned for release during 2022.
The objective of this grant is to assist businesses directly affected by the Victorian Forestry Plan to adapt, explore and investigate alternative sources of timber or manufacturing opportunities. It is intended to support Victorian forestry businesses:
- explore opportunities to process or manufacture using plantation timber feedstock
- develop new products using plantation timber
- explore processing, harvest and haulage of alternative fibre
- investigate downstream manufacturing opportunities using alternative fibre.
The Victorian Timber Innovation Fund is part of the Victorian Government’s broader $120 million Victorian Forestry Plan Transition Package that focuses on retaining industry and community capability and jobs.
The Timber Innovation Grants Program will provide grants of up to $100,000 for innovation that supports businesses to transition from native timber to plantation fibre or investigate manufacturing opportunities.
Eligible businesses will be required to demonstrate the project’s ability to address each of the Timber Innovation Grants program core criteria as outlined in the guidelines.
Activities funded under this program include (but are not limited to):
- feasibility studies
- the engagement of consultants or research expertise
- new product design or development (engineering or design expertise to develop prototypes)
- investigation into alternative timber supplies
- process innovation
- enhancements to the productivity of manufacturing processes
- exploration of opportunities to undertake industry partnerships activities.
The following activities would generally not be considered:
- event sponsorship
- requests for retrospective funding, where projects have commenced (i.e. equipment purchased, contracts entered into or construction has begun) or have been completed prior to receiving funding approval
- projects requiring ongoing funding from the Victorian Government
- ongoing operating costs or salary subsidies
- costs to meet regulatory requirements
- purchase of vehicles
- purchase of property
- telecommunication service improvements and access road upgrades.
Applications for a grant are invited from businesses that:
- hold a current VicForests Timber Supply Agreement issued; or
- hold a Forest Produce License issued by VicForests; or
- are a timber harvest and / or haulage business with a current VicForests agreement.
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- conduct business operations within Victoria
- meet all the industrial relations obligations as an employer in accordance with the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
Applications close 31 March 2022.