Researchers eye timber potential

Mount Gambier will be the hub of a $1.3m national timber industry project to create a new structural wood product.

The project will be overseen by the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub in partnership with Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited, which is the rural Research and Development Corporation responsible for the forest and wood products industry.

The project will focus on using low value fibre, such as hardwood chip and softwood log pulp, to create a new structural wood product.

Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub executive general manager Liz McKinnon said the project would optimise readily available product not good enough for construction timber through engineered wood solutions.

“There is a major demand for structural timber, we are a nett importer and that demand will quadruple by 2050,” she said.

“We need to optimise what fibre we have and work to ensure it becomes not only a new export product, but also a domestic product to meet this market gap.

“Rather than send it offshore as a raw product, we want to add value here and then send it generating new market opportunities and jobs for the region.”

Ms McKinnon said the Federal Government had committed $1.3m in funding over the next two years and members of the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub were providing additional funding and in-kind support for the project, which will start immediately.

“This is a national scale project led from Mount Gambier,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting project that has huge potential and capacity to increase the value of our Green Triangle timber industry.”

Ms McKinnon was onsite at Mount Gambier’s Borg Manufacturing timber mill with Member for Barker Tony Pasin to announce the project on Tuesday morning.

Mr Pasin said the grant would help to grow more jobs in Barker and improve the resilience of the local industry.

“The forestry sector in areas such as the Green Triangle in South Australia, and the broader Australian forest and wood products industry, will benefit from this domestic value-adding project which will make the financial returns of plantation forestry more attractive,” he said.

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