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Australia faces critical housing timber shortage

4 May 2022
Australia’s housing construction sector faces a critical timber shortage and our reliance on imported timber will double by 2050 if our nation falls short of the plan to plant an additional One Billion Production Trees, a new interim report by Forest & Wood Products Australia (FWPA) has found.

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) says the report reveals the demand for new housing will rise from 183,000 new dwellings per annum now to 259,000 per annum by 2050, driving an increase of almost 50 per cent in demand for timber.

International demand for timber continues to surge and, coupled with the COVID-led worldwide construction boom, Australia has not been able to source around 20 % of their housing requirements, needed from imports. The FWPA report expects reliance on imports to double by 2050 if we Australia doesn’t grow its plantation estate and meet the One Billion new production trees’ goal.

“The critical timber shortages of the past two years have exposed Australia’s over-reliance on timber imports, which have become more expensive and difficult to source, which has driven up building costs and significantly delayed construction,” AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said.

“The finding that our reliance on timber imports could blow out to double over the next 30 years should be ringing alarm bells among policy makers. Furthermore, the global push for more fibre to transform building systems, the pivot away from plastics and move to sustainable biofuels, along with the need to halt deforestation internationally, will only make gaining imports even more difficult.

“The good news is that there is time to avert this crisis if all levels of government work with industry to ensure Australia reaches its one billion new production trees goal and fill more of the supply gap with Aussie grown, renewable timber, and in the process support the hundreds of thousands of jobs forest industries underpin.

“The Coalition’s recently announced AU$305 million forest industries package to support new plantations and drive forestry and timber innovation is an excellent start delivered in the campaign. AFPA looks forward to seeing Labor’s response to Our Plan for Growth, including measures to achieve the One Billion Trees Goal,” Ross Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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