Opinion: Forest industry ready to build Tassie homes

The Tasmanian forestry industry says it has geared up production to assist the government meet its commitment to build 10,000 new homes by 2032.

In last year’s State of the State report, the then Premier announced the Government would commit to building 10,000 new homes within a decade to help solve the state’s low cost and social housing crisis.

At the time, concerns were raised about the ability to meet the commitment, with a shortage of labour and materials plaguing the construction industry across the state.
But Chief Executive of the Tasmanian Forest Products Association (TFPA), Nick Steel, said forestry businesses saw the announcement as an opportunity to invest in the industry to meet the future demand.

“One of the biggest challenges for the forestry industry is having the confidence to invest in long-term projects to grow our businesses,” Mr Steel said.

“The industry saw the Government’s commitment to housing construction as a signal that demand for high-quality Tasmanian timber would continue for the next decade.

“And while there’s more we can do with Government to ensure the long-term prosperity of the Tasmanian forestry industry, this commitment is a welcomed step.”

Mr Steel said the Tasmanian industry was ready to provide a wide range of timber products essential for the construction of new homes.

“Forest products are an essential component in so many parts of the housing construction process,” Mr Steel said.

“While most people are aware of the need for softwood for timber framing, there is much more in every home that’s made of timber,” he said.

“Look around your house today, and you will often find that the things that make your house your home are built by forest products.

“As well as the 140,000 cubic metres of softwood that will be needed to build 10,000 new homes, the government needs to find 48,000 cubic metres of hardwood for floors, kitchens, doors and windows.

“Plywood, MDF and chipboard will also be needed for kitchen cabinets, wardrobes and substrates, and treated pine will be needed for fencing, decks and landscaping.

“Then there’s the specialty timber and veneers needed for furniture, benchtops and architectural design. Tasmanian timber businesses are ready to provide all of this for the 10,000 new homes committed to by the government.”

But beyond the creation of the homes, Mr Steel said the commitment will help all Tasmanians.

“By guaranteeing the timber needed will come from Tasmanian businesses, the government can ensure the money is kept in Tasmanian pockets, as opposed to being shipped offshore or overseas,” he said.

“By supporting the Tasmanian forest products industry, you are protecting jobs in the state. Over 5600 jobs are directly or indirectly involved in forestry and it’s vitally important that the money is kept in these Tasmanian families and communities.

“And with every tree that is harvested to help build these 10,000 homes to be replanted, the benefit to the environment in storing carbon will help future generations too.”

Mr Steel said the TFPA and its members are ready to assist the government in meeting its commitments and is ready to work with all sides of politics to ensure this important industry remains successful, for the benefit of all Tasmanians.


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