AUSTimber 2016 launch gets thumbs up!
AUSTIMBER 2016 (11-16 April) near Traralgon has been hailed as a “real coup” for Latrobe City and Gippsland. “The event is perfectly suited to Latrobe’s unique and abundant natural resources that support a productive timber and forestry industry providing softwood, value-added hardwood, and paper products sold to domestic and export markets,” said Latrobe Mayor Dale Harriman at the public launch of the event.
Held in HVP’s Flynn Creek Plantation, the launch was attended by special guests from organisations including the Victorian Forest Industries Association, ForestWorks, HVP, Latrobe City Council, Latrobe Valley Bus Lines, Keith Walking Floor, and Australian Paper.
Mayor Harriman said Latrobe City Council was a keen supporter of the timber and wood products industry and recently released its draft Wood Encouragement Policy for community consultation.
“AUSTimber 2016 will provide a tremendous boost to our communities, with the creation of many economic and employment opportunities now and for the future in our local economy as well as in the wider region and Victoria.
“And, there is an opportunity to host another two AUSTimber events in 2020 and 2024 which would add to our solid reputation as a leading regional event destination and timber hub with positive impacts on our local economy,” he said.
AUSTimber, run under the auspices of AFCA, was held in Mount Gambier in 2008 and 2012. AFCA’s chairman Ian Reid outlined exactly what had been achieved at both of the events and also the successes of the forerunner to AUSTimber.
Laurie Martin, General Manager AUSTimber Events, told the invited guests to “look around you at one of the most elegant solutions known to man for reducing carbon in the atmosphere, and I’m not talking about trees... I’m talking about a production forest”.
“Australia has about 125 million hectares of forest of which about 2 million hectares are industrial plantations such as this one. Of the roughly 123 million hectares of native forest, a bit over 36 and a half million (or a shade under 30%) are available and suitable for commercial wood production.
“We applaud the locking up of almost 61 million hectares (almost half Australia’s forest coverage) in nature conservation reserves and areas protected for biodiversity conservation.
“But on hot days like today, we know the sustainable management of native forests that are available for production means those forests are
better protected from to continue providing biodiversity and the maintenance of native
“While they’re actively growing, trees extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their wood. But, by the time they reach maturity, they’re nett emitters of carbon to the atmosphere because the leaves, needles, bark and branches they shed rot and release the carbon stored in that material.
“So, planting trees for the purpose of removing carbon from the atmosphere means we need to harvest those trees before or by the time they reach maturity to keep as much of that carbon as we can locked up in wood products. “For much of history,
continued on page 4
The Mayor of Latrobe City (Cr Dale Harriman) officially launched the countdown to AUSTimber 2016, and gave the site and plans the thumbs up.