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Gippsland moves closer to timber training

Wellington Shire Council will convene a meeting to further investigate the potential for a timber and forestry education precinct for Gippsland. Source: The Gippsland Times and Maffra Spectator

It follows a council investigation into the feasibility of establishing such a precinct in the Wellington Shire.

The report suggested there was benefit in pursuing a regional approach to the potential development of a timber and forestry education precinct.

As other Gippsland councils had discussed similar projects, a regional approach has been proposed to develop these opportunities.

With potential growth in demand for timber resources, the industry was confident the demand for timber training and research would be strong over the next decade.

According to the report to council, there will be opportunities for industry, TAFE and university partnerships to cover the demand.

It has been proposed Wellington Shire Council officers work with their colleagues at other interested Gippsland councils to facilitate the industry roundtable, engaging a wider group of industry representatives, education providers, the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and other related bodies.

From the roundtable, a report will be prepared with a more rigorous assessment of the potential for a timber and forestry precinct in the region.

The sawmill product and other wood product manufacturing industry sector in Wellington Shire is worth $85 million in gross revenue or 1.7% of total shire output.

Forestry and logging represents $42 million or 0.9% of total output.

Gippsland has 1.1 million hectares of native state forests managed by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Timber harvest and regeneration is managed by VicForests.

Gippsland has 100,000 hectare of private plantations, of which 52% is in Wellington Shire.

Wellington Shire Council plans to host the meeting with representatives of the timber and forestry industry and education providers on or before June 30, when Latrobe City Council will host a meeting to investigate the potential for introducing a policy to actively encourage the use of wood as a core manufacturing material for public housing.

Latrobe council hoped to use the policy to establish research facilities in the Latrobe Valley to enable the development of innovative technologies for the forestry, wood and paper sectors.