Sig­nif­i­cant drop in sawmill num­bers

Australian Forests and Timber - - FRONT PAGE -

con­tin­ued from page 1. mills in New South Tas­ma­nia and Queens­land.

In com­par­i­son, the soft­wood in­dus­try, ex­clud­ing cy­press pine mills, con­sists of rel­a­tively large mills with an in­put ca­pac­ity above 100,000 cu­bic me­tres across Aus­tralia. Over the past decade, the do­mes­tic soft­wood sawmill in­dus­try has be­come sig­nif­i­cantly more cap­i­tal in­ten­sive and larger in scale, which has lim­ited the re­duc­tions in to­tal log pro­cess­ing de­spite the de­cline in mill num­bers.


The cy­press pine sawn­wood in­dus­try con­sists of rel­a­tively small mills in New South Wales and Queens­land only. Post and pole mills are more evenly dis­trib­uted across Aus­tralia, with av­er­age mill size sim­i­lar to that of the cy­press in­dus­try.

Wood-based panel mills are also dis­trib­uted fairly evenly across the states, with more than half hav­ing a pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity of 100,000 cu­bic me­tres or greater. De­tailed re­sults for panel mills are not pro­vided in this re­port be­cause the sur­vey re­sponse rate was too low to be sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant.

From the sur­vey re­sults, ABARES es­ti­mates that around 10 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres of sawlogs were pro­cessed in Aus­tralian sawmills dur­ing 2012–13, of which hard­wood sawlogs com­prised 1.9 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres, and soft­wood sawlogs around 8 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres, of which 187,000 cu­bic me­tres was cy­press pine sawlogs. Hard­wood sawn­wood out­put in 2012–13 was es­ti­mated at around 740,000 cu­bic me­tres, and soft­wood sawn­wood out­put at around 3.85 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres, of which around 78,000 cu­bic me­tres was cy­press pine sawn­wood. ABARES es­ti­mates that 24% of hard­wood sawn­wood pro­duc­tion was dry ap­pear­ance grade sawn­wood, while green struc­tural (23%) and green other (32%) sawn­wood also ac­counted for sig­nif­i­cant shares. In con­trast, more than half of to­tal soft­wood sawn­wood pro­duc­tion was dry struc­tural tim­ber. A sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity of wood pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Aus­tralia is wholly Aus­tralian owned and op­er­ated. Around 5% of wood pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties are par­tially or wholly owned by New Zealand, United States and other for­eign in­vestors.

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