An­other Coun­cil em­braces for wood first pol­icy

Australasian Timber - - NEWS -

EAST GIPP­S­LAND Shire Coun­cil is the lat­est to adopt a Wood En­cour­age­ment Pol­icy (WEP). Two re­gional and seven lo­cal coun­cils have now adopted a WEP in Aus­tralia, and Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil has done some ground-break­ing work in New Zealand.

A WEP gen­er­ally re­quires re­spon­si­bly sourced wood to be con­sid­ered, where fea­si­ble, as the primary con­struc­tion ma­te­rial in coun­cil build­ing and fit out projects.

Among the pol­icy aims coun­cil wanted to ‘lead the way through en­cour­ag­ing sus­tain­able adop­tion and sourc­ing of tim­ber as a build­ing ma­te­rial’, and to ‘pro­mote the in­dus­try as a re­new­able and sus­tain­able re­source along with the ad­van­tages of tim­ber based prod­ucts in the de­sign and con­struc­tion phase of coun­cil projects’.

Vic­to­ria’s peak body for the for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try, the, has wel­comed the an­nounce­ment that East Gipp­s­land Shire Coun­cil have be­come the third lo­cal coun­cil in the state to adopt a tim­ber en­cour­age­ment pol­icy.

Tim John­ston, CEO of the Vic­to­rian As­so­ci­a­tion of For­est In­dus­tries [VAFI], said it was great to see sup­port for tim­ber was con­tin­u­ing to grow and that the re­new­able re­source was get­ting recog­ni­tion for the role it played in sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try is an im­por­tant eco­nomic con­trib­u­tor in Vic­to­ria, gen­er­at­ing more than $6 bil­lion of sales and ser­vice in­come an­nu­ally, and pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for en­cour­ag­ing growth, pop­u­la­tion di­ver­sity and main­tain­ing a sus­tain­able lo­cal in­dus­try. Much of the in­come gen­er­ated by the in­dus­try re­mains in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly so in re­gional ar­eas.

The in­dus­try also cre­ates and sup­ports a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of jobs, di­rectly em­ploy­ing around 21,000 peo­ple across Vic­to­ria and in­di­rectly sup­port­ing an­other 40,000 to 50,000 jobs through flow on eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.

“The lo­cal for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try is well po­si­tioned to as­sist with the grow­ing de­mand for tim­ber, both for tra­di­tional con­struc­tion and en­gi­neered wood prod­ucts,” Mr John­ston said.

“Vic­to­ria is al­ready home to land­mark tim­ber build­ings. Hav­ing the sup­port of lo­cal coun­cils is vi­tal to see­ing more in­vest­ment and growth in this sec­tor.”

In De­cem­ber 2014 La­trobe City Coun­cil be­came the first in Aus­tralia to adopt a wood en­cour­age­ment pol­icy (WEP) for pub­lic build­ings.

The Mu­nic­i­pal As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­to­ria (MAV) and the Aus­tralian Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (ALGA) both passed res­o­lu­tions to adopt Wood En­cour­age­ment Poli­cies in May and June 2015 re­spec­tively. Specif­i­cally, ALGA ap­proved the fol­low­ing mo­tion; “That this Na­tional Assem­bly sup­port the use and pro­mo­tion of tim­ber prod­ucts by Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment across Aus­tralia, us­ing a pol­icy sim­i­lar to the Wood En­cour­age­ment Pol­icy de­vel­oped by La­trobe City Coun­cil.”

Through­out 2015 Welling­ton Shire in Vic­to­ria, Wat­tle Ranges in South Aus­tralia and Kyo­gle and Tum­barumba in New South Wales all adopted WEPs. In Jan­uary this year Nan­nup be­came the first coun­cil in Western Aus­tralia to adopt a pol­icy.

Planet Ark is en­cour­ag­ing more coun­cils to adopt WEPs.

The adop­tion of sim­i­lar poli­cies around the world is grow­ing steadily, in­clud­ing Canada, Ja­pan, France, Fin­land, Nether­lands and the UK, who are all en­cour­ag­ing the use of nat­u­ral tim­ber­based prod­ucts in con­struc­tion

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