A combination of supply chain issues for imported timber, the dwindling supply of local timber and rising prices is leading to substantial delays in building houses for Victorians. As a diminished and overpriced timber supply hits builders and home builders, it is important to focus on solutions. The Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) works closely with its members and the State and Federal Government to secure Victoria’s sovereign timber capability for generations to come.
According to a report by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (ABARES), the Victorian softwood estate has remained static since the early 1990s. That is at odds with new house builds that have increased by 66% since 1984, while the softwood estate, which is critical to construction, increased by only 23% over the same timeframe.
“The increasing supply gap between the softwood estate and new builds tells quite a story over time and indicates an urgent need to improve our sovereign construction timber supply capability,” said Deb Kerr, VFPA CEO.
Plantations provide the solution for timber shortages and supply insecurities. The government is investing in multiple projects supporting the plantation estate, such as additional funding to extend the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) based in Gippsland, exploring farm forestry strategies, and supporting Forestry Hubs throughout the region.
Another report, released by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) shows that using more engineered timber in buildings reduces the amount of embodied carbon by up to 75 per cent.
“New plantations solve various problems at once. They provide a win for builders, homeowners, farmers, the environment and, finally, secure sovereign timber capabilities. Several studies have shown that to support Victoria’s growth, we must increase the state’s timber plantation estate. Planting 120,000 hectares by 2030 will meet climate targets and the state’s future housing construction needs,” Ms Kerr concluded.