Australia's valuable forest resources continue to attract new investment in initiatives to add value to these resources. Our unique native forest resources, combined with an expanding plantation estate, are supporting increasing investment in world class infrastructure and downstream processing capacity.
For instance, a massive investment has been required to develop the infrastructure and manufacturing facilities that processed the 27 million cubic metres of logs harvested from Australia's native forests and plantations in 2006-07. Several billion dollars has been invested in new or improved wood manufacturing facilities over the past few years.
Internationally, Australia's forest industry is well position to secure significant investment in both plantation development and downstream wood processing facilities. At the same time, many domestic enterprises are expanding their businesses by focusing on value adding production and export market development.
Australia now has around 2 million hectares of plantations. An average of 72,000 hectares of new plantations was reported established in each of the five years to 2008. A significant proportion of this investment in new plantations has come from the private sector. However, since 2008 there has been a decline in investment in plantation forestry following the global financial crisis.
Plantation expansion and the resulting increase in wood production is providing significant further investment opportunities in the infrastructure required to harvest, transport and process this resource. There are major opportunities for investment in value-adding processing capacity. Also, there has been significant ongoing investment in Australia's world class softwood sawmilling sector.
Investment in new processing technologies to add value to Australia's native forest resources has also been a major priority for the forestry sector. Australia's native hardwood timbers contain unique properties with respect to durability and appearance providing significant opportunities for investment in downstream value-adding initiatives.
In addition to recent and current investment, there is a range of future investment planned in Australia's forestry sector. This includes investment in hardwood and softwood sawmills, pulp and paper mills, wood product export facilities and engineered wood product mills.
There remain significant additional opportunities for both international and domestic investors to securely invest in Australia's forestry sector through both plantation expansion and wood processing value-adding initiatives.
The following documents provide information on the state, trends, opportunities and forecasts with respect to investment in Australia's forestry sector.