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New report declares a crisis looming in timber

A new report on the impact of the timber shortage crisis on Australia’s housing market has exposed the complete inadequacy of the planning around plantation grown timbers and the logging industry in general.

The report by Forest & Wood Products Australia says that Australia will not be able to meet demand for new housing, with the gap between demand for timber used in the housing market and available timber to dramatically increase.

The demand for new housing will rise from 183,000 new dwellings per annum now to 259,000 per annum by 2050, driving an increase of almost 50 per cent in the demand for sawn softwood.

The report says Australia needs an additional 468,000 hectares of softwood plantations before 2050.

The union said the alarming report should be a wake-up call for an urgent Australian plan, with current plans and electioneering commitments falling woefully short.

“Australia is not going to be able to build the new homes that it needs into the future if we don’t take urgent action now to ensure we have the softwood supply the country needs,” National Secretary Michael O’Connor said.

“The timber shortage crisis is a global problem, and Australia can’t look to other markets for solutions. We need our own plan.

“There is nothing in Scott Morrison’s forestry policy announced last week that comes close to addressing this crisis, and he has failed to deliver on his previous commitments and targets.

“This includes a 2019 election commitment of a $500 million concessional loans program for plantation businesses (only $30 million of the funds spent to date) and the decline of the plantation estate of 10.1% despite a Morrison Government target of one billion plantation trees by 2030.

“We need a serious and urgent plan to divert timber exports to address immediate shortages, secure Regional Forest Agreements, and expand the forestry plantation estate to the levels identified in this report.”

Link to report

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