Sawmill numbers drastically reduced since 2000
Since 1999–2000 the number of hardwood sawmills has decreased by 79%, from 862 mills in 1999–2000 to 182 mills in 2015–16.
The number of softwood and cypress sawmills has decreased by 72% over the same period, from 279 mills in 1999–2000 to 77 mills in 2015–16.
Softwood sawmills in 2015–16 were larger on average than they were in 1999– 2000—one-third of softwood sawmills had a log input capacity greater than 100,000 cubic metres a year in 2015–16.
In contrast, 96% of hardwood sawmills had a log input capacity of less than 45,000 cubic metres a year in 2015–16.
In 2015–16 softwood sawmills produced an estimated 4.4 million cubic metres of sawnwood. Hardwood sawmills produced an estimated 675,000 cubic metres of sawnwood.
Hardwood sawmills predominantly use logs from public native forests. Smaller hardwood sawmills take a much larger proportion of their logs from private native forests than do larger hardwood sawmills.
Softwood sawmills (excluding cypress mills) source almost all their logs from plantation forests.
Cypress mills (which operate only in New South Wales and Queensland) source almost all their logs from public native forests.
Other mills produce posts and poles, wood-based panels, pulp and paper, and export logs and woodchips. Source: ABARES. Australia’s forests at a glance 2017.