While the full extent of fire impact in South Eastern New South Wales and the salvageability time frames remain unknown, what was known was that full recovery will take many years, according to Hyne Timber CEO Jon Kleinschmidt. Source: Timberbiz
“Until plantations are re-established in 20-30 years’ time, interim solutions for viable log supply are required with the support of all levels of government,” he said.
“This includes prioritising all pine plantation for domestic processing over export, freight equalisation for Australian processors, and dedicated recovery coordination covering the short-term salvage and the longer-term issues of replanting and wood flow management,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
Hyne recently hosted Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, NSW Member for Albury Justin Clancy, Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes and Deputy Mayor John Larter at its Tumbarumba Mill last week for them to better understand the impacts of the bushfires on the softwood industry.
Mr Kleinschmidt said the dignitaries’ visit was focussed on the short and long-term challenges ahead given more than 50,000 hectares of pine plantation is fire impacted in NSW alone.
Hyne Timber is Australian, privately owned and dates back to 1882, employing 630 people nationally, 230 of whom are at the Tumbarumba Mill.
“We remain committed to the long journey to recovery and value the ongoing, critical Government support as we work to find solutions to secure pine log supply through challenging times,” Mr Kleinschmidt said.
The dignitaries’ visit to the mill included a tour of the new $3.7m investment in seven robots to stack timber into packs. This area previously had high vacancy rates and the highest risk of manual handling injuries. While the robots themselves came from Japan, most of the installation investment (over $3m) was awarded to Australian suppliers.
Six existing team members are being professionally developed to operate them while others who previously worked in this area are being professionally developed to work in other parts of the mill.