New ra­dial sawmill be­comes re­al­ity

A sign of what can hap­pen when in­dus­try has the se­cu­rity and con­fi­dence to in­vest.

Australian Forests and Timber - - Front Page -

IF EVER there was a time that the for­est, fibre and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try in Vic­to­ria needed a good news story, this was it. In a year that has been tu­mul­tuous to say the least, the open­ing of the new Ra­dial Tim­bers sawmill at Yar­ram was the good news story the in­dus­try needed.

And what an achieve­ment -- a $4.5 mil­lion state-ofthe-art com­mer­cial ra­dial sawmill, the first of its kind in Aus­tralia, that has the abil­ity of tripling the ca­pac­ity of the cur­rent Ra­dial Tim­bers mill.

Of­fi­cially opened on 21 April by Dar­ren Ch­ester, Fed­eral Mem­ber for Gipp­s­land, the mill is a fan­tas­tic in­vest­ment and ac­com­plish­ment for the busi­ness.

It is a great dis­play of the forward think­ing and in­no­va­tion that is hap­pen­ing in the for­est, fibre and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try in Vic­to­ria, and a sign of what can hap­pen when in­dus­try has the se­cu­rity and con­fi­dence to in­vest.

As he of­fi­cially opened the sawmill, Mr Ch­ester spoke about the im­por­tance of the in­dus­try to the Gipp­s­land re­gion, stat­ing that “Gipp­s­land has a rich and proud his­tory as a tim­ber pro­duc­ing re­gion. In­vest­ments like this [the mill] will lead to a great fu­ture as we make the best pos­si­ble use of our tim­ber re­source.

“It’s a good ex­am­ple of what can be achieved when gov­ern­ments work in part­ner­ship with in­dus­try," he said.

Tim Johnston, CEO of VAFI, wel­comed the open­ing of the mill, and is ex­cited to see the where the busi­ness goes from here. “I con­grat­u­late Ra­dial Tim­bers on this ex­cit­ing oc­ca­sion, and I look forward to see­ing the new mill in op­er­a­tion, and the po­ten­tial for fur­ther ex­pan­sion in the fu­ture.

“Ra­dial Tim­bers have built a mill that re­ally is the first of its kind in Aus­tralia. They have used Aus­tralian-de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy that al­lows them to triple their pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­ity and they are to be com­mended for con­stantly look­ing at ways to im­prove their oper­a­tions all along the sup­ply chain,” he said.

“This mill is a real boost for the lo­cal com­mu­nity, the wider Gipp­s­land re­gion and for the tim­ber in­dus­try in gen­eral. With em­ploy­ment opportunities in re­gional Vic­to­ria hard to come by, it pro­vided se­cure work for the du­ra­tion of the build and will pro­vide on­go­ing work as it op­er­ates.”

Ra­dial Tim­ber grows, mills and dis­trib­utes a range of unique and stan­dard prod­ucts from durable Vic­to­rian hard­wood tim­ber. It is the only com­mer­cial ra­dial saw­ing mill in the world, us­ing Aus­tralian patented tech­nolo­gies to pro­duce more tim­ber from fewer trees. Ra­dial sawmilling dif­fers from con­ven­tional sawmilling, and cuts logs into wedges, es­sen­tially mim­ick­ing the way a log nat­u­rally splits as it dries.

Nathan Trushell, Act­ing CEO VicForests, said that the sawmill shows a promis­ing fu­ture for both Ra­dial Tim­ber and the greater Vic­to­rian tim­ber in­dus­try.

“This is a great ex­am­ple of how our in­dus­try is con­stantly adapt­ing and evolv­ing,” Mr Trushell said.

“As the main sup­plier for Ra­dial Tim­ber we are proud to sup­port them dur­ing this ex­cit­ing time and look forward to see­ing the beau­ti­ful ra­dial tim­ber prod­ucts en­ter the mar­ket,” he said.

The sawmill, which cost $4.5 mil­lion and took 12 months to build, pro­vided lo­cal em­ploy­ment for the du­ra­tion of the build and will also pro­vide jobs for a num­ber of new on-go­ing work­ers at the mill.

“This ex­pan­sion will se­cure our long-term vi­a­bil­ity within the in­dus­try and more than triple our pro­duc­tion, bring­ing more jobs and ac­tiv­ity to the re­gion,” said Chris McEvoy, manag­ing direc­tor of Ra­dial Tim­ber Aus­tralia.

“We are con­fi­dent that be­tween our 10 year con­tract with VicForests and over 2000 hectares of high value plan­ta­tions that we have es­tab­lished in the re­gion that we will be around for many years to come,” he said.

The Yar­ram ra­dial mill, which pro­cesses 4000 cu­bic me­tres of logs per an­num, mainly uses na­tive for­est tim­ber sourced from VicForests, but this will pro­gres­sively be re­placed by hard­wood plan­ta­tions.

"We have just been reis­sued with a new VicForests al­lo­ca­tion for 10 years, which will be ramped up with pro­posed mill ex­ten­sion from 4000 to 12,000 cu­bic me­tres," Mr McEvoy said.

"The idea be­fore mak­ing any in­vest­ment in a new green­fields mill is to guar­an­tee re­source. The agree­ment with VicForests is very im­por­tant be­cause

we are still 10 years away from our own plan­ta­tion re­source be­ing ma­ture enough to har­vest.

"Our old­est plan­ta­tions are about 12 years old. The ear­li­est we can har­vest them is be­tween 22 and 25 years we are about half way. We needed some­thing in the mean­time un­til we can phase in the plan­ta­tion re­source."

Al­most 100% of Ra­dial’s prod­ucts, which in­clude shiplap cladding, deck­ing, screen­boards and a range of unique ra­dial prod­ucts, end up in high end Mel­bourne and in­ter­state mar­kets.

Ra­dial Tim­ber is now in the plan­ning stages for a fur­ther ex­pan­sion of a new dry mill on the site adding an­other $1.3 mil­lion in­vest­ment into the re­gion.

Carolyn Cross­ley - Mayor Welling­ton Shire Coun­cil, Chris McEvoy - Ra­dial Tim­bers, Dar­ren Ch­ester MP - Fed­eral Mem­ber for Gipp­s­land, Jon Lambert - Heart­wood Plan­ta­tions

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