The Minister for Resources, the Hon Guy Barnett, has announced that Tasmania will be the first in Australia to introduce a state-wide Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP). The WEP aims to ensure that sustainably sourced timber is fully considered as a key design component, where feasible, in the construction and refurbishment of all public building projects.
The policy will apply to state government projects when the use of timber represents value for money; provides appropriate quality and functionality; complies with the Government’s Buy Local Policy; where there are no technical or performance reasons for not considering wood; and when the use of timber complies with relevant Australian Standards.
Today’s announcement brings Tasmania in line with 2 local government authorities and 12 local councils across Australia that have adopted WEPs since December 2014, including Latrobe City and East Gippsland Shire in Victoria, and Fraser Coast Regional and Gympie Regional in Queensland, which announced their adoption of WEPs earlier this year.
Planet Ark is delighted to see the Tasmanian Government demonstrate such strong environmental leadership with this important decision. The adoption of a WEP is a positive move for the environment and it is very encouraging to see a government support this at a state-wide level.
Planet Ark has worked closely with Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to raise national awareness of WEPs through its Make It Wood campaign. National Marketing and Communications Manager at FWPA, Eileen Newbury, has also welcomed today’s announcement.
“This is a momentous day for the Australian forest and wood products industry. It recognises that sustainably sourced timber has the potential to play a significant role in helping Australia to achieve our carbon emission targets, while also contributing to the economies of local and regional communities,” Ms Newbury said.
Moving towards the use of wood as a primary material in the construction and furnishing of buildings has many benefits for the environment. More than 20% of Australia’s carbon emissions come from constructing and maintaining the built environment, so making the switch to wood is a key strategy for addressing climate change.
Internationally Rotorua in New Zealand, Hackney in London, British Columbia in Canada, Finland, France and The Netherlands have all introduced WEPs.