2 June 2021

Thousands of building trade jobs could be supported, and an extra 1,000 houses built in South Australia, if a Jamestown sawmill accepts a rescue package of timber sourced from mature local forests in the state’s mid-north.

The mid-north trees from the Bundaleer forest are perfectly located for harvesting and trucking to the nearby Jamestown sawmill as an immediate boost in timber for the housing industry.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said a group of mid-north farmers and forest growers could be the white knight supplying extra timber the state’s housing industry has been looking for.

“Our local home builders and tradies have been impacted by growing global demand for timber which has seen imports fall at the same time local demand for new housing has skyrocketed,” Minister Basham said.

“Demand for timber is set to remain exceptionally strong in South Australia. Master Builders SA anticipates that new detached house starts will have increased by 34.4 per cent during 2020-21 overall, with the volume of home renovations work forecast to expand by over 40 per cent in the next few years.

“This is great news for the South Australian economy, but has put real pressure on supply chains, including timber. Our state’s sawmills have been processing logs to their capacity in an attempt to catch the market for building trusses, but demand continues to outstrip supply.

“The State Government recently met with the housing and timber sectors to identify options to bring more timber to market to support those families and tradies wanting to build new houses. Investigations show there is a sawmill in the mid-north with capacity to upgrade to process timber trusses and trees in both the mid-north and on Kangaroo Island ready to be processed.

“I want to thank the Bundaleer Forest Management Group for coming forward to have their mature trees considered to help meet homebuilder demand.

“This is a win-win solution where the Morgan Sawmill in Jamestown could be provided around two years supply of logs to support jobs in the region and the building industry could source enough trusses for around 1,000 homes – creating jobs across the state.

“This initial supply of timber could assist the industry while discussions continue for how best to support the movement of bushfire salvage timber from Kangaroo Island to mills on the mainland. The Marshall Liberal Government will continue to work with industry to assist both the timber and building sectors meet the strong demand for housing in the growing South Australian economy.”

While Morgan Sawmill Jamestown considers the offer of logs from the Bundaleer forest, the State Government will evaluate a joint proposal from the South Australian Forest Products Association, Master Builders Association of South Australia, Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers and Morgan Sawmill for a $4 million new sawmill located at Dublin.

View the media release from the Premier of South Australia's website.