Freight movements for up to 60,000 tonnes of softwood logs on Kangaroo Island are about to commence in support of South Australia’s forestry sector and booming housing construction industry.
Applications are now open for a Government funded application known as the Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program (CSTAP).
The CSTAP is jointly funded by the Morrison Coalition Government and Marshall Liberal Government and provides assistance to freight bushfire-affected softwood logs salvaged from Kangaroo Island to the South Australian mainland and then to sawmills with immediate capacity to process structural timber.
It is anticipated that the initiative will free up timber to build between 8,000 and 10,000 new houses across Australia in a major boost for the timber and home building industries.
“Australia’s construction industry is booming and the Morrison Government is doing everything it can to help support the supply of structural timber,” said Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam.
“I am pleased we have been able to reach an agreement with the South Australian Government to start getting fire-damaged timber off of Kangaroo Island and into the market where it’s needed most,” he said in a statement.
“Without this assistance, salvageable logs might be burned or left to rot, putting jobs at risk and possibly releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
“This funding will deliver a new supply of logs to support jobs in both our timber and construction industries and help boost economic growth across the country.”
To combat timber shortages crippling industries across the country back in June, the South Australian Government had appealed to its federal counterparts about accessing a freight subsidy scheme to assist with salvaging timber off Kangaroo Island where fresh pine has been harvested since the start of the year.
A $15.1 million cash injection from the Federal Government to alleviate critical timber shortages in the housing construction industry was necessary as rising demand for timber and other raw materials coincided with bans on Australian logging exports made by China as trading between the two countries soured earlier in the year.
Increased demand for timber had put pressure on supply chains according to Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham as the South Australian Government pledged an additional $3 million to support getting more timber to market.
“This joint funding is a game changer for our forestry and housing construction industries and will make tens of thousands of tonnes of structural timber available which could build up to 2,000 homes in South Australia, boosting our economy and creating jobs across the state,” he said.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has been working closely with the Morrison Coalition Government to deliver a viable solution to getting this timber to market and this transport subsidy will maximise the amount of sawmill quality logs available to local processors.
“Unfortunately the former Labor Government privatised the south east and mid north forests, removing our flexibility to support the timber industry during times of supply shortage.”
The Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and South Australian Governments.
The following assistance is available for transport of bushfire-affected softwood logs suitable and intended for processing into structural timber; a total of $30 per tonne assistance for transport from Kangaroo Island to the South Australian mainland;va total assistance of 10 cents per tonne per kilometre travelled by road from first port of landing to sawmill, commencing after the first 200 road kilometres travelled.