Inside this issue!

Third Edition, February 2022

Letter From the Chair


A lot of change has taken place over the festive season. Firstly, we have a change of Minister responsible for Forestry in NSW. The new Minister being Dugald Saunders MP, Member for Dubbo.

He also carries responsibility for Agriculture and Western NSW. We welcome the new Minister, and will be using every endeavor to bring him up to speed with the softwood plantation forestry and processing in the South West Slopes component of our Hub region.

As I noted in my last letter a contract has been signed with the University of Canberra to complete a fresh report on the post-fire economic health of the industry and its community. The reporting team will be headed by Jacki Schirmer, who in conjunction with FWPA and SWG compiled the 2017 report.

Discussions continue throughout government and industry about how to address the nations rapidly growing sawn timber deficit. While most of the discussions revolve around carbon prices and methodologies, and one billion trees, we seem to be ignoring some basic planning process. It would seem fundamental to establish how much suitable “Lower Quality” tree growing land is actually available across the nation, and make more real estimates of the cost of major plantation projects in each state. At least DPI Forestry in NSW is on the job!

Last but certainly not least I would like to note the wonderful support SWG and MRFH has received from former Mayors, James Hayes (Snowy Valleys), Heather Wilton (Greater Hume) and Abb McAllister (Cootamundra-Gundagai). Their attendance at meetings, and political advocacy on our behalf has been exemplary. The industry and wider community should be very proud of James, Heather and Abb who have had to deal with major fires and recovery, in a community completely unbalanced by the pandemic.

I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome the new Mayors, Ian Chaffey (SVC), Tony Quinn (GHSC) and Charlie Sheahan (CGRC). We look forward to working with you and your council colleagues.


Peter Crowe OAM,
Chair SWG / MRFH

Executive Report

Welcome to 2022 and here’s hoping that this year will see the cursed Covid become peripheral in our lives rather than mainstream!

There has been plenty of activity happening within the Hub region. Most notably you will see that we are now called the Murray Region Forestry Hub to more accurately reflect the geographic zone that we cover, ie. SWS and NE Vic.

Some key points include:

  • Throughout the Hub, processors are now fully adjusted to the new, post-fire log supply volumes from FCNSW. Supplementary supplies are being pursued as opportunities become available.  
  • Demand for timber, paper and other wood products from our mills is still very strong thus keeping pressure on the growers for logs from the plantations.
  • Housing forecasts are variable, however there are some indicators that would suggest that a softening in this market might be seen later in 2022 or early 2023.
  • Weather conditions have been quite extraordinary this summer with well above average rainfall and lower temperatures. This has resulted in a very mild to almost non-existent fire season so far. It has also meant growing conditions have been exceptional for both the much needed trees as well as the un-needed weeds!!
  • Wetter conditions have also been challenging for the harvesting & haulage operations and have also kept road maintenance crews very much on their toes.
  • The impact of Covid on employers and employees has been consistent with the rest of the community. Actual infections or close contact rules have meant that operations throughout the industry have had periods of disruption.
  • This month SWG will be appearing before the NSW Legislative Council Committee of Inquiry into the long term sustainability and future of the timber and forest products industry. This will be held in Tumut.
  • Various other projects initiated under the Strategic Plan for the Hub last year are also progressing very well. Updates will be presented at the next quarterly meeting and progress reports provided in the next edition of this newsletter. Subject areas being addressed include:
    • Climate Change (Risk Management Project)
    • Employer Survey (in conjunction with ForestWorks)
    • Industry Impacts Update (Post-fires)
    • Blackberry research advocacy
    • Forest Tours for newly appointed/elected representatives
    • Plantation Expansion
    • Community engagement
  • An information session and briefing on Hub activities are being held for invited stakeholders from NE Vic on the 30th March in Wangaratta. This meeting has had to be rescheduled several times over the last 6+ months due to covid issues.

We are looking forward to another very interesting year with a lot of action at a political and operational levels. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information or want to become more involved with any of the Hub’s activities.

You are also welcome to share any of our social media links, website details or email contacts to colleagues and friends that would like to keep up to date with what we are doing in the region.



Visit our website to learn more about MRFH & SWG & our projects

Bombowlee Bridge Work About to Enter New Stage

Work to replace the Bombowlee Creek Road Bridge is about to enter a new stage. Funding was secured by the Softwoods Working Group and was the culmination of a four year campaign. The bridge has been the scene of a number of serious accidents.

Read More....

The Decision Tree

Join AFPA and the South West Timber Hub for an introduction to the Decision Tree Program, including a tour of the assessment tool! Event details: Wed, 2 March 2022, 5:00 - 6:00PM AEDT Tickets are free - click here for further information or to register. To view a media release about Decision Tree click here.

The Construction Material Pyramid Toom

This useful interactive tool was created by the Centre for Industrialised Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy, showing the CO2 footprints between different categories of materials or between material types within the same category. You can find it here.

Careers In Forestry


Funding boost: 
$20 million to get rid of pests & weeds

In the Spring Edition of Forestry Industry Council's Newsletter is this fantastic feature on Bec Torres and definitely worth a read!
Bec Torres is Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) newest addition to the Tumut team in the Haulage and Sales Supervisor role. Bec hails from California - the home of Pinus radiata - and studied sustainability of natural resources at the University of South Dakota. She made the leap to Australia in 2016 on an exchange program where she attended the University of Western Australia and later met her partner in Bali. Bec moved to Coffs Harbour (where her partner is from) and obtained a position with Trimble Forestry as a transport planner for nearly three years, where she learned about compliance and safety and the inner workings of haulage.

Read more....

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said pest animals and weeds pose a significant threat to Australia’s primary production, environment and biodiversity.
“Pests and weeds are a huge and growing problem for Australia’s agriculture and environment,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Projects will reduce the overall burden of pests and weeds on-ground through activities such as coordinated control, destruction and removal, including trapping, baiting and culling along with biological control release.
“They will target nationally significant pest and weed species, such as feral deer, feral pigs, cats, foxes, rabbits, wild dogs and a range of invasive weeds across identified hot spots.


Further Funding & Name Change

We are now Murray Region Forestry Hub!

The Murray Region Forestry Hub has welcomed the news of an additional $8.9 million of Australian Government funding over 3 years for the original 9 Regional Forestry Hubs that was recently announced by the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud.
And after consultation with our members, the South West Slopes Forestry Hub is pleased to announce that they will now be known as the Murray Region Forestry Hub (MRFH).
Murray Region Forestry Hub Chair, Peter Crowe, said, “This name change better reflects the geographical boundaries of the Hub region which extends from Gundagai in the north to Lake Eildon in the south. The MRFH has a total area of 3.5million hectares and encompasses around 170,000 ha of public & privately owned softwood plantations. This makes it home to one of the largest softwood-plantation forestry industries in Australia”.
To view the Media Release & Learn More

More Timber in Construction to Lower Emissions

The Government has announced their support for the use of low-carbon timber in the construction sector, supporting forestry jobs across Australia.  The announcement is $300 million Timber Building Program through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to drive green buildings using low-emission engineered timber construction in Australia.
Learn More

New Methods to Expand the use of
Australian Carbon Credit Units

The  Morrison Government has made it easier for farmers and industry to develop high integrity carbon offsets and to take part in the Emissions Reduction Fund  (ERF)  through finalising new ERF methods.
The new methods will give farmers, businesses and industries the ability to earn revenue through projects which will help Australia achieve its emissions reduction targets.
The new methods cover blue carbon, plantation forestry, abatement from industrial and commercial processes, and biomethane.
To view the Media Release & Learn More

Victorian Timber Crews Stood Down Maybe Until May

Victoria’s native timber industry has been left in limbo with VicForests believed to be standing crews down following a Supreme Court decision just days before Christmas Day. In the Supreme Court on 22 December 2021, Justice Richards granted an order to stop native timber harvesting in the Central Highlands and East Gippsland. Source: Timberbiz
Read Full Story

MRFH Member Profile - Hyne Timber

Hyne Timber is one of Australia’s largest producers of sawn timber products, a leader in preservative treatments and an iconic supplier to the Australian construction industry. They also implement standards throughout their business that underpin their commitment to product quality, service, safety and sustainable timber production.
Operating throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Hyne Timber is a leader in technology implementation, product development and quality control with a world class manufacturing capacity and environmental standards that underpin our unwavering commitment to sustainably grown plantation timber production and supply in Australia.
Building an excellent reputation on its quality, service and flexibility, AKD has a wide range of products, and an end to end planning process that enables products to be made to order and dispatched on its own truck fleet, to customers across Australia.
Their focus on a sustainable future encompasses their commitment and policy towards the environment, health, safety, community and their business partners including contractors, suppliers and customers. Achieving a sustainable future is a shared commitment between Hyne Timber, our employees, business partners and the communities in which they operate.
Hyne has just announced a partnership with UK-based James Jones & Sons Limited (JJSL), bringing together a combined 320 years of family-owned sawmilling heritage to pursue growth opportunities.
JJSL traces its history back 180 years and five generations and is today recognised as one of the most innovative and efficient timber producers in Europe, with seven mills across the UK.
Fifth generation Hyne, James Hyne said this is yet another significant milestone in Hyne Timber’s 140 years of growth.
Click here to view Hyne's recent Media Release

AKD Turned Pink & Raised a Whopping $176k!

AKD did it once again turning pink in support of the McGrath Foundation and Breast Cancer Awareness. With $176,000 raised which was well and truly over their $100,000 target!


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