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Friday analysis: timber crisis solution for SA could be KIPT

Colin Wooldrige of Whiteheads Timber inspects the KIPT logs

This week’s summit in Adelaide on the dire situation the building industry finds itself in has highlighted how bad the crisis really is. John Bowen from Bowen Timber in Melbourne has already said he doesn’t know “when this craziness will end”.

GCJ Constructions project manager Nathan Shanks highlighted the domino effect the shortages are having.

He said the timber shortage was also impacting other tradespeople — including electricians, bricklayers and plumbers — who were waiting to do their work once frames were built.

The said that if the situation continued the bottom line was that businesses would shut down.

The solution – for South Australia at least – seems to be sitting on Kangaroo Island just 13.5km from the mainland.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) has enough timber to build 10,000 homes that it wants to sell.

The salvaged timber has been tested and declared suitable for housing and the mill and Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers has even agreed on a price.

The problem, as always, is that strip of water between the mainland and the island.

In May last year Assistant Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senator Jonathon Duniam announced the Federal Government was supporting the forestry industry with $15 million for salvage log transport that, as he said at the time, was “critical to assisting the sector to get back on its feet following the devastating bushfires”.

But, for some reason, the package only applied to New South Wales and Victoria.

South Australia’s Primary Industries Minister David Basham has now approached Senator approached the Federal Government for assistance under a Federal Government program to assist in the transport of logs program.

Initial reports suggest that Senator Duniam is prepared to consider the proposal.

To do otherwise would be grossly unfair.