Timber industry body issues challenge to local councils
VICTORIA’SNORTH East councils have been challenged to adopt timber encouragement policies similar to those now in place in some Gippsland municipalities.
Speaking at a meeting of regional forests and timbers processing representatives in Wangaratta recently, Ric Sinclair (Managing Director of Forest and Wood Products Australia [FWPA]) said that local councils which had an interest in the local industry could influence the use of wood products by adopting similar initiatives.
This follows the announcement that East Gippsland Shire Council became the third local council in the state to adopt a timber encouragement or ‘timber first’ policy, following its adoption by Latrobe City Council and Wellington Shire.
Mr Sinclair said a timber (or wood) encouragement policy encouraged the use of wood as the preferred material for construction and fitout of council’s buildings where appropriate.
“The focus of the policy is to ensure wood is considered for the initial stages of projects,” he said.
The meeting followed visits to regional timber processing plants in Benalla, Wangaratta and Myrtleford ahead of the FWPA board meeting.
FWPA has a policy of holding some of its board meetings in regional timber growing and processing centres.
Mr Sinclair also spoke about the FWPA’s role as the service company working with industry stakeholders and government to sustainably grow the market for forests and wood products.
“We want to see increased productivity across the value chain and ensure positive environmental and social outcomes,”’ he said.
“Some of FWPA’s recent achievements include a change to the National Construction Code to allow mid-rise timber buildings and a successful TV promotion in conjunction with Planet Ark to promote the benefits of wood products and carbon retention,’’ he added.
FWPA chairman John Simon welcomed Cathy McGowan, the board, executives and North East regional processors attending.
He said that new multi-storey timber construction represented an exciting period ahead for wood.
“I want to also thank the government for its commitment to matching funding to grow R&D and wood marketing,” he said.