Thursday, 27 May 2021 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 5763
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:12): My question is to the minister for forestry. Can the minister update the house on the ForestrySA procurement and supply of logs to the Morgan Sawmill at Jamestown, who employ over 75 people? With your leave, and that of the house, sir, I will explain further.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: This week, I asked a question about how Morgan’s will run out of timber on 30 June 2021 and how the economic impact to the Jamestown area is about $10 million to $15 million.
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:12): I thank the member for the very important question. This is certainly a challenging period going forward. The demand for timber in Australia is enormous as we see the developments going on across the board, particularly demand for structural timber. We are seeing a particular demand in not just South Australia but right across Australia. The world price for timber has also gone through the roof. We are seeing the import of timber into Australia dry up, so there has been increased demand at the housing level but a drop-off in supply as well.
There is very much a process that we are going through at the moment where ForestrySA have tendered out their timber for sale for this current season and period. My understanding is they are tendering out for long-term contracts for people to enter into. That process is in train. My understanding is that in early June the announcement will be made about where the successful tenders will be and what opportunities will be there going forward in relation to that.
It’s a very challenging space, the timber industry, because it is a very long-term time frame you have to operate in. There are many forests around South Australia. We see the forests down in the South-East that were sold off by the previous Labor government to the mills down there and that are being used within those mills. Those mills are actually operating at capacity and they are not looking for huge amounts of extra timber anywhere.
We have a small amount of state forest left here but we also have privately owned forests as well that make timber available to local mills up here. So it’s a very dynamic industry that operates in place. There is an opportunity for those mills to secure timber from many sources, whether it be from ForestrySA—the small bit that’s left—or any other privately operated forests that are out there.
This is a place where we see the challenges of a small business dealing with procuring long-term needs. We are working closely with Morgan’s to see what opportunities there are for them going forward. We are certainly having conversations with them on many different opportunities that may be there for them and we will continue to have those fruitful discussions with them. The member for Stuart, as the local member, has been totally engaged with that community up there and continues to talk with Morgan Sawmill to make sure we meet their needs where we can. We will continue those conversations so that we can deliver for South Australia to make sure we have those structural timbers we need.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:15): Supplementary, Mr Speaker: minister, are you indicating that the tender process has not been closed off at this stage?
The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:15): I thank the member for his supplementary question. The information that is supplied to me is that the process hasn’t been totally finalised. It is in the process of going through contracts being signed, etc., and the announcement of the successful tenderers will be made in early June.