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Timber shortage sees NSW housing industry on brink of collapse

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Thousands of jobs are at risk in New South Wales if the state’s timber supply runs out as soon as April, as predicted by experts, because of the bushfires and the pandemic.

Some timber manufacturers are now calling for the resource to be freighted from interstate to NSW for processing, but said transportation costs meant the move wasn’t viable without government subsidies.

According to The Daily Telegraph, it’s understood NSW considered subsidising long-haul transport of timber, only for it to be deemed unviable due to the long-term supply challenge facing the industry.

Carpenters Spyros and Costa Theos, from Laconia Carpentry, at work in Randwick. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

“People ask me, what are the alternatives? I explain, there are no alternatives,” Jon Kleinschmidtm CEO of Hyne Timber, which runs one of NSW’s largest timber mills at Tumbarumba, told The Daily Telegraph.

“This sawmill… needs logs to keep people in jobs and maintain the supply of Australian grown and manufactured timber for our construction sector.”

The high demand for homes, driven by the Federal Government’s Homebuilder incentives, is the biggest factor in NSW’s shortfall, according to the Australian Forest Products Association deputy CEO, Victor Violante.

And while worse is predicted, the bite is already being felt at ground-level by builders as they grapple with a shortage of supplies for residential construction.

Laconia Carpentry business owner John Theos, of Castle Hill, said his suppliers were already struggling to source enough timber and were often late.

”It’s hard to get the lengths you want, or the type of treated pine I normally use … deliveries are often days late now too,” Mr Theos, 55, told The Daily Telegraph.

“I’m buying pallets of loose timber from my supplier just so we can make frames, and I’m shuffling my jobs around a lot because I can’t complete them if I don’t have the pine for it.”

Source: The Daily Telegraph.

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