A public hearing in Australia of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources was held on October 23rd with the purpose of looking into the short- and long-term impacts of the bushfires on Australia’s timber industry. Chair of the Committee, Rick Wilson MP, said that the evidence they have heard so far is that accessing product is getting harder and harder. “Obviously here particularly, in Tumut, we’ve got an issue with the fires, which has created a very dire short-term prospect,” he acknowledged. “But, longer term, it is about trying to attract capital into the plantation sector and accessing suitable country within reasonable transport distance of existing mills, and I guess the existing mills are getting fewer and fewer as the capital requirement gets bigger.” CEO of AKD Softwoods Shane Vicary said he is looking at the situation as ‘today’s trees versus tomorrow’s trees’ and said there is definitely a shortage with today’s trees.
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Timber industry future probed at inquiry