kangaroo island
Kangaroo Island suffered extensive damage during the 2019-20 bushfires. Image – Canva.
  • $15M of the transport funding will come from federal government, $3M from SA Gov
  • Currently a significant timber shortage nationally and globally
  • MBA has welcomed the move, saying it will support construction of 10,000 new homes

$18 million of total funding has been pledged by the Federal and South Australian governments combined, in order to boost timber supplies and alleviate the current shortage.

As reported in The Property Tribune last month, there are 22,000 new homes are waiting to be built in Australia, whereas 11 million are in the pipeline in the US.

Home builders have been faced with shortages in everything from timber to silicon chips and staff.

As part of the announcements, around 60,000 tonnes of wood will be shipped from Kangaroo Island (South Australia). $15 million of the $18 million transport subsidy will be paid by the federal government with the balance provided by the South Australian government.

Milled timber. Image – Canva

In a move that is hoped to safeguard the viability of builder and tradie businesses nationally, the intervention is expected to support the construction of 10,000 new homes – a sigh of relief for those in the industry said Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia (MBA).

“This comes at a crucial time for thousands of builders and tradies whose viability is threatened by a surge in the price of timber and chronic delays of up to 3 months to access the timber needed to construct new homes and renovations,” she said.

“Subsidising the transport of salvaged timber from plantations on bushfire ravaged Kangaroo Island to timber mills with immediate capacity in South Australia and other states is elegant in its practicality.”

Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia

The move, which she labelled as a “no-brainer”, will also support ongoing HomeBuilder work which has played a significant role in the recovery of Australia’s economy to date.

Additionally, Ms Wawn said it will benefit the Kangaroo Island community.

“Supporting jobs and businesses in communities ravaged by the fires and reeling from economic impact of the pandemic is also a big win which Master Builders alliance with the Australian Forest Products Association helped bring about.”

David Basham, the South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, said that the state needed to open up the Kangaroo Island Plantation Timber to allow for harvesting.

“This transport subsidy will maximise the amount of sawmill quality log available to local processors which will boost supply and support local jobs in our regions and across metropolitan Adelaide,” he said.

Unions and industry have been calling for action to bolster supplies for some time with the CMFEU arguing the timber shortage is a “looming disaster.”

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