Slacks in ef­fort to get pol­icy changed

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Philippe Co­querand philippe.co­querand @cnbtimes.com.au

THE North Bur­nett could face a short­age of tra­di­tional bridge build­ing ma­te­ri­als if the State Gov­ern­ment doesn’t change pol­icy to al­low for har­vest­ing of tim­ber gird­ers.

That was the mes­sage from Slacks Hard­wood Milling rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Slack who called for the pol­icy change at a meet­ing with gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Mary­bor­ough re­cently.

Also at the meet­ing were North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil mayor Rachel Cham­bers and Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries di­rec­tor gen­eral Dr Beth Woods.

The gird­ers are used in the con­struc­tion of bridges.

Cr Cham­bers said the gird­ers were an im­por­tant con­struc­tion el­e­ment in the Bur­nett re­gion.

“Gird­ers are an in­valu­able re­source to our com­mu­nity,” she said.

“Our bridges and many of our her­itage listed struc­tures de­pend on their avail­abil­ity into the fu­ture.”

Cr Cham­bers said she was sup­port­ive of the Slack fam­ily lob­by­ing the State Gov­ern­ment for change.

“To me, the Slacks’ ar­gu­ment to re­tain gird­ers within the forestry sys­tem makes per­fect sense on many lev­els and I am op­ti­mistic that the State Gov­ern­ment can find a way to nav­i­gate to­wards this out­come,” she said.

Mr Slack said if the cur­rent pol­icy is not al­tered, the stock­pile of tim­ber gird­ers would soon dis­ap­pear.

“If no ac­tion is taken now they could run out in ap­prox­i­mately eight years and it wouldn’t be for an­other 70 years or so un­til there’s big enough trees to make gird­ers,” he said.

Mr Slack said the gov­ern­ment needed to take ac­tion and se­lect suit­able trees to re­tain for gird­ers into the fu­ture.

“If we run out of gird­ers our busi­ness will be af­fected as no gird­ers means no em­ploy­ment and part of our busi­ness would be gone,” he said.

Mr Slack said the

❝ If no ac­tion is taken now, they could run out in ap­prox­i­mately eight years. — Sam Slack

dis­cus­sion at Mary­bor­ough went well and he and was looking for­ward to work­ing with the State Gov­ern­ment on a so­lu­tion.

Slacks Hard­wood sup­plies tim­ber gird­ers to Queens­land Rail and the Queens­land Trans­port of Main Roads and Mr Slack pre­dicted dire con­se­quences if the pol­icy wasn’t re­solved.

“It’s very im­por­tant for the North Bur­nett as there’s a few bridges around, and if there’s not a sup­plier of gird­ers for the rail­ways or the bridges then bridges would im­me­di­ately need to be re­placed with some­thing else,” he said.

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