The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) says hundreds of NSW timber industry workers will welcome the resumption of hardwood timber harvesting operations on the South Coast.
AFPA CEO Mr Ross Hampton said hardwood timber mills across NSW have been starved of log deliveries for more than a year since the Black Summer bushfires and are at crisis point.
“There are hundreds of forestry-dependent jobs at stake on the South Coast if supply to timber mills does not urgently resume, so the news that modest timber harvesting levels have resumed will provide considerable relief across regional NSW,” Mr Hampton said.
“Forestry Corporation of NSW has done the right thing and taken on board the EPA advice to develop additional environmental safeguards that strike a balance on the environment and the need to resume supply to industry. The science shows that it is not an ‘either-or’ proposition – native forests managed sustainably for timber production and recreation deliver the same or better environmental outcomes as NSW’s millions of hectares of National Parks and reserves. I commend Forestry Corporation for taking an evidence-based approach and recognising the critical situation mills are facing.
“There are timber mills that are on the verge of running out of logs. Without this relief these mills face the grim prospect of having to stand down workers and cease production at a time of high demand of appearance-grade timber products.”
Mr Hampton urged the EPA to allow the experienced forest scientists and ecologists at FCNSW to get on with the job of sustainably managing the state’s multi-use forests.
“FCNSW only operate in regrowth timber-production forests, with only 0.2% of NSW native forests harvested annually for timber production and regenerated by law. The real environmental catastrophe would be if NSW’s sustainably-managed native timber industry closed and we relied solely on imported hardwood timber. “
“The housing construction and renovation boom Australia is experiencing means we are seeing record demand for quality appearance-grade hardwood for products such as floorboards, decking and staircases. If our mills do not produce these products it means we will just increase imports from countries with weaker environmental safeguards at high risk of illegal logging and deforestation,” Mr Hampton concluded.
The original media release is here: Media Release – Timber industry workers welcome resumption of timber harvesting on NSW South Coast