The Australia Government is injecting $15.1 million to help address timber shortages for the construction industry, unlocking vital materials for 10,000 new homes to be built.
The new program will target timber on Kangaroo Island and support the transportation of bushfire‑salvaged softwood to timber mills.
Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing Michael Sukkar said that the program would give the construction industry a boost and help address building material shortages.
“The Morrison Government is backing in the building and forestry industries to keep the Australian economy growing and employing Australians,” Minister Sukkar said.
“We have seen more than 135,000 HomeBuilder applications and we want to get people into their new homes as soon as possible.”
“By ensuring our supply chains can support the pipeline of new builds, we are helping people get into their new homes as soon as possible.
“Australia’s construction industry is a significant contributor to our post‑pandemic economic recovery. This is reflected by the fourth consecutive increase in dwelling investment in the June National Accounts, rising 1.7% since the introduction of HomeBuilder.”
CEO of Master Builders Australia Denita Wawn said, “This is a great move by the Government. The acute timber shortage is causing delays and cost increases that are hurting our members and negatively impacting their clients. Builders and tradies around the country will be breathing a sigh of relief.”
Managing Director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) Graham Wolfe said, “The residential building industry has been navigating its way through a period of record building activity, while at the same time managing the changing conditions due to COVID. Building product supply constraints have had a material impact on housing projects under construction. They also delay the commencement of new projects coming on line.
“Timber supply in particular has been affected by a range of factors, including last year’s bushfires and skyrocketing global demand. The Federal Government’s support in accessing additional local timber supply is very welcome.”
The announcement has been applauded by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA). Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said, “This announcement will be welcomed with open arms by builders and homeowners, especially in South Australia, who will see an uptick in urgently needed supplies to help meet record demand. The extra timber will be quickly consumed and the need remains to continue to grow the estate close to sawmilling and processing facilities to meet our housing needs.”
Bunnings Managing Director Mike Schneider said, “We know how challenging the current structural timber constraints are for the entire industry and for our customers. We welcome this initiative which should assist tradies access more of the materials they need to keep their projects moving and help cater to the demand for new home builds and renovations.”