Domestic softwood timber industry sees boost from diverted exports

The domestic softwood timber industry has received a significant boost with the NSW Nationals in the state government directing Forestry Corporation to divert selected softwood log exports, impacted by the China trade embargo, to domestic markets.

Deputy Premier and Forestry Minister John Barilaro said this will see at least an extra 270,000 tonnes of timber enter the domestic supply chain over the next three years.

“This additional timber will help to meet the current increased local demand and?mitigate against?looming supply challenges in the wake of the 2019/20 bushfires,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This timber will help to build thousands of new homes in NSW and using timber to frame these houses increases carbon benefits over other construction methods.”

Mr Barilaro highlighted the range of public interest considerations underpinning this decision, including safeguarding vital timber processing jobs in regional NSW, while bolstering the benefits to the construction sector where demand for locally produced and processed timber remains high.

The decision also allows for the continued use of an existing transport hub in Werris Creek, while taking advantage of rail transport for the diverted timber to avoid the risks of increased truck movements through areas already impacted by heavy vehicles.

“Not only are we producing sustainable timber, keeping it onshore to build Australian homes, and putting NSW jobs first, we are also making a substantial contribution to carbon capture and storage in the timber frames of new homes,” Mr Barilaro said.

This action is considered a significant step forward for the softwoods sector in NSW and in the recovery of the timber industry.