As Vic & WA Shut Native Forests, Tasmania Boosts Timber Supply!

More than 350,000 cubic metres of hardwood logs will be released as the Tasmanian government doubles down on industry with support

Fri 24 Nov 23


The Tasmanian government has approved a plan to significantly increase its supply of hardwood timbers. 

The move comes after Victoria and WA have shut down their native hardwood industries, with the government now claiming to provide a “beacon for balanced and sustainable mixed-use forest management.”

The announcement, according to Tasmanian Minister Felix Ellis, “creates an opportunity for forestry’s contribution to Tasmania to be super-charged.”

Under the plan, Sustainable Timber Tasmania, which manages 812,000 hectares of state forests, will release more than 350,000 cubic metres of timber for the state’s building and construction value chain. 

Crucially, it includes more than 125,000 cubic metres of millable logs, all having “greater than a 30cm small end diameter”, which can be manufactured into various forest products.

In addition, the government has introduced a new 30% “Contribution to the Tasmanian Economy” weighting system, advantaging Tasmanian businesses in the auction for hardwood timbers over competitors.

Tasmanian Resources Minister Felix Ellis (pictured centre in the Sustainable Timber Tasmania helmet) has been a strong supporter of Tasmania’s native forest industry. (Photo Credit: Supplied, Felix Ellis Office)

Announced by Tasmanian Resources Minister Felix Ellis, the plan comes after Wood Central revealed earlier this month that the state would face a wood famine if it did not boost sawn wood production by more than 650,000 cubic metres over the next 15 years.

Published by Greenwood Strategy Solutions, it has called for greater intervention by the Tasmanian State Government to increase log supply – with the calls being somewhat met by the latest announcement.

“A key focus will be growing on-island processing and value adding of timber in Tasmania,” Minister Ellis said. Which will “increase opportunity for investment and jobs in forestry across the State.”

The plan will mean that Sustainable Timber Tasmania will now undertake a three-stage allocation process for plantation logs, with the qualification process running until the end of January next year.

Significantly, it will also fast-track the allocation process for plantation logs and support Tasmanian businesses intending to process hardwood plantation resources as part of its On Island Processing Program.

“As a Liberal Government, we have helped rebuild the Tasmanian forestry sector after the devastation of the Labor-Green Tasmanian Forest Agreement,” according to Minister Ellis.

“Under our approach, wood production, exports, investment and jobs are all up.”

The latest move could fuel a brewing forest war, with industry and ENGOs clashing over access to forest coups.

In July, Wood Central revealed that saw millers grappling with a sharp decline in native timber support were pushing for access to additional log supply to meet the current demand for building and construction.

At the same time, Tasmanian environmentalists, buoyed by the decision to close Victoria’s native forest industry, are pushing to close Tasmanian native coups.

“The dominos are falling,” the Bob Brown Foundation said in a statement after the decision by the then-Andrews Government to shut the industry down.

 “First WA, and now Victoria – Tasmania, Queensland and NSW must be next. People will stand up to protect those forests,” according to Bob Brown Foundation campaign manager Jenny Weber.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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