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ABARES stats show a generally favourable outlook

Australia’s forestry industry continues to show signs of growth according to a new report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARES). Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonathon Duniam, said the report’s findings were great news for the country’s economy and particularly the regions. Source: Timberbiz

“The report shows an increase in most areas within the forestry sector, which is a positive result for jobs in our regional communities and for our economy,” Minister Duniam said.

“The total value of logs harvested in 2017–18 was a record high of $2.7 billion, up 4% from 2016–17.

“Commercial plantation logs comprised of 87% of Australia’s total log harvest in 2017-18, up 19% over the decade.

“This increase in log harvest is underpinned by strong export demand in hardwood woodchips and roundwood logs in combination with a high demand for wood products from the construction of housing and other residential dwellings.”

ABARES acting Executive director, Peter Gooday, said the Australian forest and wood products statistics: September and December quarters 2018, shows the total volume of logs harvested in 2017-18 remains high at 32.9 million cubic metres, down 1% from the record high 2016-17 log harvest but an increase of 44% since 2012-13.

Commercial plantation logs commpreise 87% of Australia’s total log harvest, up 19% over the decade, Mr Gooday said.

Strong export demand continued into the first half of 2018−19, with higher woodchip volumes contributing to an overall rise in export value.

This demand continued into the first half of 2018-19 with higher woodchip volumes contributing to an overall rise in export value of 10% compared with the first six months of 2017-18. Over the same period, wood product import values increased by 14%.

“Consumption of wood products was also higher across most categories in 2017-18 with softwood sawnwood consumption up 5% over the year, packaging and industrial paper was up 5% and agregate paper and paperboard up 1%,” Mr Gooday said.

In contrast to these positive trends, ABARES estimated small declines in wood processing industry output in 2017-18.

Softwood and hardwood sawnwood production both decreased, down by a combined 2% over the year. Production of paper and paperboard also decreased slightly.

In the first half of 2018-19, the number of new houses commenced decreased by 4%, with other residential building commencement down 10%, compared with the fires six months of 2017-18.

“The Australian Government has made forestry a priority, reinforced by the delivery of the National Forest Industries Plan –so it’s great to see this plan reaping tangible benefits for the sector,” Minister Duniam said.

And while Minister Duniam said the report shows growth and stability for some key areas, there is still work to be done to increase the industry’s productivity.

“The Australian Government is committed to the forestry industry and will continue to face challenges and provide opportunities to continue to grow and support the sector,” Minister Duniam said.

Read the full ABARES Australian forest and wood products statistics September and December quarters 2018 on the website.