As construction continues to boom in western Sydney during a national timber shortage, a survey of Lindsay has revealed that nine out of 10 residents want more locally grown timber.
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) and local builders are calling on the government to help meet the demand by increasing sustainably managed plantations.
AFPA Deputy CEO Victor Violante said companies have had to rely on international imports as domestic timber supply has not kept pace with population growth, but a global surge in timber prices has made it harder to fill this gap.
“Australia’s post-pandemic housing construction boom, spurred by welcome incentives like HomeBuilder and exacerbated by a sharp decline in imported timber, has highlighted just how important it is to grow our own timber for housing,” he said.
“Timber sawmills around Australia are working overtime, double shifts and weekends at maximum capacity to try to meet the unprecedented demand.”
Business Manager of Wallacia-based, Ultima Building Group, Veronica Sparagis said the shortage has impacted her and her husband’s company.
“This time last year the turnaround for a timber frame was two weeks, now it is 12-plus weeks. Our supplier is booked until September but can not guarantee those jobs will even be available because of the impact,” she said.
“Some overseas timber from Europe is coming through but our LVLs (Laminated Veneer Lumber) from America have impossible delays… our supplier Trustco will have timber arrive and it will be all gone in one day.”
Ms Sparagis said they have had to update their internal processes to ensure they still provide quality service to clients.
“The delays are now built into our timeframes, and we keep up communication, so clients are updated on the progress,” she said.
“I pre-order frames much earlier now rather than waiting until I need it, which is hard for a small business, it is a large financial outlay but that is how we make sure we look after our clients.”
Mr Violante said the results of the UComms survey of 633 Lindsay residents that was commissioned by the AFPA show Australians want the Government to take more responsibility.
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said it was working to support the industry.
“Aussie timber is world-class, and we’re doing everything we can together with industry to meet the growing demand,” he said.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers general news and politics for the Weekender.