The Australian federal government wants plantation growers to look beyond short-rotation crops which serve the pulp wood sector.

Forestry minister Ian Macdonald, announcing the terms of reference for the government’s review of plantation forestry taxes, challenged growers to take a long-term approach which would encourage foreign companies to invest in Australia. He said the current tax system had resulted in growers producing hardwood pulp wood.

The review’s terms of reference will include looking at the commercial viability and tax treatment of plantation timbers, as well as the longer-term forest rotation products such as sawn timber.

Analysts estimate Australia will have markets for only half of its hardwood pulp output within five years.