The role of my Department in relation to forestry is to assist in the development of forestry to a scale and in a manner which maximises its contribution to national economic and social well-being on a sustainable basis, and is compatible with the protection of the environment. The main means by which it fulfils this role is the provision of Afforestation Grant and Premium Schemes, which are operated by the Forest Service of my Department.
Grants are provided to cover the costs incurred in the establishment of a plantation. It is important to note that there is currently no grant assistance available for the replanting of forests following the commercial felling of trees. Forest road grants, provided by my Department to enable first thinning of plantations, and the broadleaf thinning grant, are important measures in supporting the delivery of forest-based biomass for energy use. In each case there is a pre-approval requirement and each application must be prepared and certified by a professional forestry contractor who is registered for that purpose with my Department.