As the country still burns, our industry is coming together, united in its response to addressing the fires, both in native forests and plantations. It is important that there are no knee jerk reactions and unfortunately it has already been reported that ‘other’ product suppliers are trying to use this disaster as a way to undermine the timber frame and truss market.

You will see in other stories in this edition of FTMA News that it is safe to use timber in bushfire areas and furthermore Boris Iskra has written a great story outlining this.

It may be still too early to know the exact damage these fires will have on our industry, however Christine Briggs of AKD Softwoods pointed out that there is an ability for the domestic softwood industry to lift structural output based on data from FWPA.

“I believe the domestic softwood industry can lift structural output by approx. 15% from last year’s run rates and some data to support this is that FWPA industry sales of structural from domestic producers was running at 1,596,000m3 actual year ending October 2018 and for year ending September 2019 was at 1,375,000m3 so I believe there is an ability for our domestic industry to lift structural output in the order of 220,000m3 p.a. this year.”

I have spoken with Vida Wood and Stora Enso as well as other importers who are not only concerned for the wellbeing of timber communities but are also reassuring us, that they are there to assist us in the future.

John Halkett of Australian Timber Importers Federation (ATIF), stated that it is the medium and longer-term prospects of domestic supply which are likely to be diminished as there actually may well be an initial spike in production because of log salvage. Therefore it is important that the industry work together and plan ahead to ensure we do not struggle with a timber shortage.

Kurt Schrammel of VIDA Wood expressed the importance of getting the message out there that “timber is a safe and environmentally friendly building material – now and even more so in the future.” Kurt also informed us that his colleagues from VIDA Wood’s Swedish and Canadian mills were visiting Australia to see how they can support and assist in the coming months.

So the answer to the question, is resource going to become a problem, is NO!  Definitely  not in the short term and by working with Australian Producers and importers in the long term, as FTMA Australia always does, we believe our industry has a strong future a head.

Photo: Matthew Abbott/New York Times