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issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 1

Water-logged Timber trade slows to trickle as states battle devastating floods and damage

Donations Cheques to the Queensland Flood Appeal can be made out to the Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal, or go to www. qld.gov.au/floods

By JIM BOWDEN

TIMBER trading along the entire eastern seaboard was disrupted or brought to a standstill as flood rains of Biblical proportions hammered down on coastal and inland regions in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. In southeast Queensland, the wrath of La Nina has been a tragedy of epic proportions as overwhelming volumes of water cut a destructive swathe through Queensland down to Brisbane and beyond, wrecking families and their fortunes with a death toll of 16, including children, and more than 50 people still missing. As T&F enews went on line, it was impossible to get anywhere

Floods cover a street in Dalby, west of Brisbane.

near an accurate assessment of the damage suffered by timber merchants, sawmillers and wood processors in Queensland and northern NSW

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(see stories, Pages 11 and 15). What is certain is that forest operations in southeast Cont Page 2

issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 1


FLOOD CRISIS

The Victorian Association of Forest Industries, representing the interests of the Victorian timber Industry

Victorian Association of Forest Industries Level 2, 2 Market Street Melbourne 3000 Tel: +61 3 9611 9000 Fax: +61 3 9611 9011 Email: info@vafi.org.au Web: www.vafi.org.au

Page 2 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

And you would think you needed the intense heat of an oxy to bend steel rail. The task here was completed by cold water, albeit fast flowing, but still water. Currently there are upwards of 70 bulk coal carriers anchored off Queensland coal ports each costing about $13,000 a day.

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From Page 1

Queensland and in the NSW Northern Rivers region are bogged down and log supplies to processors will be cut off for many weeks. Timber merchants report seriously depleted stocks but are hopeful of improved supplies as waterlogged forest operations dry out. They know they will be on call when the state’s massive re-building task begins. “Thankfully we kept our timber stocks down, although business has been hopeless since Christmas,” said John Titmarsh of Gill and Co which lost its Rocklea yard on Ipswich Road near the Brisbane River in the flood. “We managed to get two semis out, but $500,000 worth of timber is done for and most of our machinery, cranes and trucks are a write-off.” He said staff evacuated the site as flood levels rose. All the buildings were lifted and destroyed by the swirling waters.

“And there’s no insurance cover for flood-prone areas like this. We’ll survive by trying to meet orders for Rocklea branch clients from our Cleveland branch. There’s still a bit of a heartbeat in Gill and Co.” Plant and equipment at Boral Plywood in North Ipswich was also seriously damaged, including the maintenance workshop and treatment plant. “We’ve been luckier than most in Ipswich and we should be back in business this week,” Nigel Shaw of Wilson Timbers said after 1.8 m of water seeped through his Raceview yard. “A lot of our machinery was damaged and our finger-jointed stock took it hard, but we’ll be OK.” Money, compassion, sheer hard work and a good dose of patience will only go some of the way towards completing the massive rebuilding effort that awaits Queensland. One thing is certain, building authorities and insurance companies Cont Page 4

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Lisa Marty leads VAFI on resignation of CEO INDUSTRY has lost one of its strongest voices with the resignation last week of Philip Dalidakis, chief executive of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries. Mr Dalidakis will take up the position of deputy chief of staff in the Melbourne and Canberra offices of Senator Stephen Conroy, federal minister for broadband, communications and digital productivity. He joined VAFI in 2007 on the resignation of Tricia Caswell, previously working as a senior adviser to the Victorian Government. Lisa Marty will act as deputy chief executive until the VAFI board meets on January 28. Ms Marty is a former senior consultant at ITS Global, a

Philip Dalidakis .. returning to politics.

consultancy specialising in environment policy, trade policy, development cooperation and strategy. She led the natural resource management group at the consultancy and has had

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Lisa Marty .. at the helm of VAFI.

significant experience advising government and the private sector on forest policy. She has a Masters of Environment from the University of Melbourne and also holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University. Mr Dalidakis said he would not be lost to industry and would remain a proud ambassador for the forest and wood products sector. “Over the last three and a quarter years that I have worked for the VAFI, I have learnt a lot; about the importance of our industry, the positive environmental message that forestry enjoys, and the interdependence of rural and regional employment in the viability of small country towns,” Mr Dalidakis said. “I believe the industry has a bright future ahead, and while there are a number of public policy areas that VAFI will need to continue to pursue and advocate reforms in, the industry is in a far better and stronger position today than it was when I was first appointed.” Mr Dalidakis gave special thanks to current and former VAFI presidents Bob Humphreys and Greg McCormack for their support and wise counsel.

ForestWorks performs a range of industry wide functions acting as the channel between industry, Government and the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. Core services: • Skill Standards • Material Development • Networks • Strategic Skills Planning • Project Management • Data Collection • Research • Industry Advice • Career Advice • Adult Learning Expertise

VICTORIA PO Box 612, North Melbourne 3051 Tel: (03)9321 3500 Email: forestworks@forestworks.com.au NEW SOUTH WALES PO Box 486, Parramatta 2124 Tel: (02)8898 6990 Email: smukherjee@forestworks.com.au TASMANIA PO Box 2146, Launceston 7250 Tel: (03)6331 6077 Email: wfoss@forestworks.com.au BRISBANE PO Box 2014 Fortitude Valley 4006 Tel: (07)3358 5169 Email: bharle@forestworks.com.au

issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 3


flood crisis

Re-building, repairs will be drawn out in search for skilled tradesmen, materials From Page 2

to change. Many old-style timber ‘Queenslanders’ on stilts survived the deluge while modern ‘fashionable’ low-set houses on cement slabs were washed away. As a massive rebuilding of houses and infrastructure is contemplated there will be opportunities for the building materials industry driven, sadly, off the back of tragedy. Also, there will be a huge demand for remedial work to get many homes back into a safe condition. But this will be hampered by a shortage of tradesmen and materials. A recovery task force has been created to start the cleanup and rebuilding after the flooding that caused more than $20 billion worth of damage

This picture of a driver and his truck is one of the iconic images of the flood crisis. Australian Trucking Association chairman David Simon said there were many stories of truck drivers going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the safety of people trapped in the flood waters. This transport driver took his truck into flood water at Toowoomba to rescue a woman, Despite the attention, the driver didn’t consider himself a hero. “I just drove the truck into the water and threw a strap to the car driver to secure around herself, in case the car washed away,” he said.

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to 27,000 homes and 5000 businesses and ripped through 70 towns and cities. A flood recovery cabinet committee has been established to oversee the task force and ensure bureaucratic processes are fast tracked. Federal minister for forestry and agriculture Joe Ludwig will represent the commonwealth on the committee to ensure it is providing necessary assistance. “The federal government stands shoulder to shoulder with the state government to provide assistance,” Senator Ludwig said. The federal government has already received 8000 claims for emergency assistance from people, most of whom have been placed in evacuation centres. Perhaps the most important ingredients of a successful recovery will be the planning and logistics involved. As such, it is reassuring to see Queensland premier Anna Bligh and prime minister Julia Gillard move

quickly to appoint a competent and respected leader to head the reconstruction task force. Major-General Mick Slater is a veteran of East Timor and Kuwait, and has served as director-general of preparedness and plans and has training in mobilisation planning. He says it will take years to rebuild flood-affected regions. He wants to get on with the job but the full extent of damage still cannot be assessed. He says priorities will be set at a local level. “I think we will achieve some things within months, yes, but we will be on the re-building road I think for several years,” he said. But through all of this, there is the realisation that the traditional ‘wet season’ lies ahead for Queensland with predictions of cyclonic rain depressions in February and March. Wivenhoe dam, constructed by the Bjelke-Petersen government after the floods in 1974 has ‘saved’ Brisbane from a greater disaster. But further heavy rain in the dam’s flood mitigation compartments could threaten the Queensland capital once again. The dam has dropped to 187% with releases maintained at 215,000 megalitres a day. This is down from a peak of 645,000 ml. In the 1974 flood, water was flowing past the Brisbane River’s main measuring point at the rate of 9500 cubic metres a second. Water was flowing into some of the catchments last week at the rate of 9000 cu m/ sec. Think about it, we were seeing one million megalitres or two Sydney harbours flow into the Wivenhoe catchment every day. Dam levels are considered at 100% when their drinking Cont Page 10

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events

WHAT’S ON? FEBRUARY 2-4: ATFA Flooring and Finishes Show. Sydney Exhibition Centre. Book now for the ATFA convention, seminars and ATFA awards dinner. Contact: Australian Timber Flooring Association. Tel: (07) 5492 8696. Email: admin@atfa.com.au Web: www.atfa.com.au 4: ATFA convention and awards dinner. Venue: Doltone House, South Pier, Piers 19-21, Level 3, 26-32 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont Point NSW 2009. Time: 7 pm. Cost: $145 pp includes threecourse dinner and drinks. Tables of 10 $1375. Contact: Contact: Australian Timber Flooring Association. Tel: (07) 5492 8696. Email: admin@atfa.com.au Web: www.atfa.com.au 14-18: Wood Science Course. University of Melbourne and CSIRO, Melbourne. Contact Silvia Pongracic on 0418 764 954 or visit www.gottsteintrust.org

MARCH 4-5: Forest Industry Engineering Association Residues to Revenues Conference (incorporating Green Energy Expo), Bayview Eden Hotel, 6 Queens RoadMelbourne. Call 1800 126 398 to register or www.woodresiduesevents.com

APRIL 8: South Eastern Australia 2011 Farm Forestry and Firewood Expo, Bendigo, Vic. City of Greater Bendigo’s Huntly plantation, north of Bendigo. NORTHERN United Forestry Group (NUFG) - a not-for-profit community group with a focus

on growing trees for sawlogs and firewood - will host the expo at the Huntly plantation, north of Bendigo. Some trees (all hardwoods) within the Huntly plantation that need to be thinned will be available for demonstration purposes. Contact: Mal Brown, Northern United Forestry Group. Tel: (03) 54352588. Mob:: 0419 108 817.

MAY May 21-June 5: Forest biomass four-nation industry study tour. New Zealand, Austria, Germany and Finland. Includes LIGNA Hannover Wood Fair, Germany. Email: francip@optusnet.com.au 25: Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) and New Zealand Institute of Forestry Conference (ANZIF 2011). Auckland NZ. Theme: ‘Pacific Forestry’. Visit www.anzifconference.co.nz 30-June 3: LIGNA Hannover Wood Fair. 25-June 4: LIGNA industry tour (Germany, Italy, Austria).

july 11-14: AWISA 2012. Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Contact: Contact Exhibitions Pty Ltd, PO Box 925, Avalon NSW 2107. Tel: 612 9918 3661 Email: info@awisa.com Web: www.awisa.com

SEPTEMBER 5-7: NZ Forest Industries Expo 2011. Venue: Rotorua Energy Events Centre, Rotorua. Forest industry leaders and companies from across the world are booking their tickets to participate in the expo (FI2011) and make the most

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of the 2011 Rugby World Cup while they’re there. Exhibition sites have already been booked by a number of NZ and Australian companies, and inquiries being received from Canada, China, Vietnam and Austria. The expo will showcase the best that Rotorua, the wider Bay of Plenty region and the rest of New Zealand has to offer when it comes to forestry and wood products. Contact: Dell Bawden. Tel: +64 73627865. Mob: +64 274745485. Email: office@bawden.co.nz Website site: fi2010.co.nz

October 21-November 2: 5th International Woodfibre Resources and Trade Conference: Woodchips and Biomass for Global Markets. Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, Singapore. Presented by DANA Ltd, Pike & Co and Wood Resources International, followed by field trip to Cambodia on November 3, 4 and 5.The field trip is an optional extra to the conference registration fee and will be limited to 80 participants. Field trip participants will fly from Singapore to Sihanoukville with an overnight stay. Transfer next day to Siem Reap which will include a visit to world famous UNESCO heritage site Angkor Wat. Return Saturday morning. Who should attend? Plantation and other forest owners, plantation investment fund managers, existing-future biomass producers and users, existingfuture wood pellet producers and users, bankers and investment analysts, woodchip producers, wood fibre trading companies, woodchip end users.

SUSTAINABLE. RESPONSIBLE. The National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI) is striving for an ecologically sustainable Australian society achieved through dynamic, internationally competitive forest industries. NAFI’s mission is to represent the interests of members by promoting the environmental sustainability and the prosperity of Australian forest industries. National Association of Forest Industries Ltd (Est. 1987) PO Box 239, Deakin ACT 2600 Tel: (02) 6285 3833. Fax: (02) 6285 3855 Web: www.nafi.com.au

issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 5


NEWS

EWPAA signs on as lead auditor for FSC schemes THE Engineered Wood Products Association of Australia has a challenging year ahead – the takeover of the A3P certification program, discussions on the establishment of a certification program for treated wood, ongoing growth of chain of custody certification, and expansion of its Brisbane laboratory facilities after purchasing all the structural testing equipment from NSW State Forests’ defunct timber engineering laboratory. The association’s ability to provide accredited certification services has been strengthened now that quality control manager Ewan Brown has signed off as a lead auditor for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) schemes, giving EWPAA the ability to perform combined

FSC/AFS audits. National plantations products body A3P has employed EWPAA’s certification services that will produce positive synergies for both organisations. A3P – the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council – will moves its quality certification scheme across to EWPAA this month, ending its association with NCS International, one of Australia’s largest third-party certification bodies. This move will expand EWPAA’s product certification skills to sawn timber alongside its responsibilities for wood panels and engineered wood.

EWPAA financial services officer Dennis Morrell and quality control manager Ewan Brown (seated) look over certification auditing programs at Plywood House in Brisbane.

Page 6 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

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FOREST INVESTMENT

Sandalwood oil .. the sweet smell of success for northern Australia

Indicators for sound commercial business in Kimberley WITH plantation forestry investment under the spotlight in the wake of some agribusiness managed investment schemebased company failures, the growth of sandalwood in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia points the way to commercial success with the right combination of research and development, correct mix of soil and water conditions, strong international markets, and expert tree plantation practices. The prospects for further economically robust tree plantation activity in northern Australia are examined in a comprehensive study of its potential to contribute to economic and social goals in northern Australia supported by the Australian Tropical Forestry Initiative.

least a couple of years off, the indicators for a commercially stunning business have been established and continue to point to strong profits. Tropical Forestry Services (TFS) has established about 4000 ha of Indian sandalwood trees in the region. According Simon Penfold .. prospects for economically robust tree plantation activity in east Kimberley.

to general manager of forestry operations Malcolm Baker, TFS has 13 years of hardearned experience under its belt – in both the growing of Indian sandalwood and the distillation of oil from native sandalwood. “Yes, we have worked hard to consolidate our leading position in the global sandalwood industry and to showcase commercially Cont Page 8

While harvesting of local Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is still at least a couple of years off, the indicators for a commercially stunning business have been established and continue to point to strong profits “This study will be paying close attention to the opportunity for plantation expansion in the east Kimberley region,” spokesman Simon Penfold said. “Commercially-sound tree plantation opportunities, especially on indigenousowned land, appear to exist with the potential to make a valuable contribution to economic and social goals. “These opportunities include ‘new generation’ tree crops and related products, including bioenergy, essential oils and other chemicals.” While harvesting of locallygrown Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) is still at

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issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 7


FOREST INVESTMENT

Kimberley region shaping as largest supplier of sandalwood in the world From Page 7

successful and sustainable tree plantation management,” Mr Baker said. “We are pleased that we have been able to create the world’s largest sandalwood plantation resource here in the Kimberley. We are now recognised as the world leader in the complex ‘art’ of sandalwood cultivation. “We look forward not only to delivering sustainability and biodiversity outcomes from our sandalwood plantations, but also long-term returns for investors who have kept the faith in our efforts.” Through their purchase of the Mount Romance sandalwood oil distillery, TFS can already offer West Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) oil from native forest resources to buyers in the global fragrance market. TFS aims to commence tree harvesting and oil production from its east Kimberley plantations in 2013. “Oil production will increase progressively to over a 100 tonnes by 2020,” Mr Baker said. “As we start to prepare for our first harvest from our own plantations, we are reinforcing our commitment to extending our supply of sandalwood oil, wood and products to world markets.” Sandalwood has been traded as a highly valued commodity for well over 2000 years. Presently international markets trade heartwood billets for oil extraction and smaller pieces containing both heartwood and sapwood used to manufacture incense products. Sandalwood is a critical ingredient in a variety of products ranging from fragrances and perfumes such as Chanel, Christian Dior and

Page 8 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

Calvin Klein to medicines and Buddhist and Hindu religious items. This strong demand has seen the luxury product-end of the market reach prices above $110,000 a tonne of heartwood, earning sandalwood the wooden gold tag. Today, India supplies about 90% of the world’s Indian sandalwood from its native forests. Much of this supply is thought to be illegally poached contributing to the depletion of sandalwood in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature now lists Indian sandalwood as a vulnerable species, threatening its long-term supply from natural forests. The gap between supply and demand is continuing to expand. This has seen the price of Indian sandalwood increase from about $5000 a tonne in 1991 to $138,000 in 2008. This represents a compound price increase of 18% over the last 18 years But returning to the Kimberley, Indian sandalwood has been grown in Western Australia’s Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) since the 1980s when trial plots to grow this parasitic tree were established by the Western

Australian government’s forestry department. In addition, private forestry companies and Murdoch and Curtin universities conducted their own research. Collectively these endeavours have placed Western Australia at the forefront of world knowledge and experience in the cultivation of sandalwood. Irrigated plantation forestry for the production of sandalwood is now a well established This strong demand has seen the luxury productend of the market reach prices above $110,000 a tonne of heartwood, earning sandalwood the wooden gold tag

Malcolm Baker .. 13 years of hard-earned experience in the growing and distillation of sandalwood.

Tropical Forestry Service’s nursery … consolidating the company’s position as the global leader in the sandalwood industry.

industry in the east Kimberley region where sunshine, suitable soils and average daytime temperatures between 30 to 40 deg. C. were recognised as optimal for sandalwood growth. Also, water from Lake Argyle that flows through Lake Kununurra is available to irrigate sandalwood plantations and is easily replenished by the Kimberley’s annual 800mm of monsoonal rainfall. Sandalwood thrives under a combination of the climatic and geographical features offered in the ORIA. As the wild resources of Indian sandalwood continue to diminish, Kununurra is set to become the largest supplier of sandalwood in the world. “It is this combination of a tropical arid climate and the abundance of water that has proven that the Kimberley region is the right location for the cultivation and rapid growth of sandalwood,” Malcolm Baker said. Cont Page 9

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INDUSTRY NEWS

John Simon takes CEO position at Simmonds Lumber MANAGEMENT and timber marketing specialist John Simon has been appointed chief executive of Simmonds Lumber Pty Ltd, effective March 1. Mr Simon replaces Paul Elsmore who has retired and will step back into a consultancy role to assist with the company’s southeast Asia and DNA certification programs. The new CEO has held a number of senior positions within the timber industry. Mr Simon is currently chief executive of Hudson Building Suppliers which was recently purchased by building services group Crane Distribution. He leaves Hudson on February 4 when the management role will pass to Michael Jorgenson. Simmonds Lumber introduced the world’s first DNA testing of timber in 2007 which verifies the exact source of the timber it imports and helps combat illegal logging. The company, based in Sydney with branches in Melbourne and Brisbane, is a leading importer of domestic housing timber. It started operation in Australia in 1983, when the current shareholder Graeme Black bought the company from the owners of the same name. The company at that time was

Timber & Forestry e-news is the most authoritative and quickest deliverer of news and special features to the forest and forest products industries in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region. Weekly distribution is over 6,400 copies, delivered every Monday. Advertising rates are the most competitive of any industry magazine in the region. Timber&Forestry e-news hits your target market – every week, every Monday! John Simon .. wide experience in timber trading.

located in a small yard in the residential area of Pennant Hills, Sydney, and was primarily involved in the importation of New Zealand radiata. Today the Simmonds Group, headed by chairman Humphry Rolleston and directors Graeme Black and Geoff Joyce, operates across the entire eastern seaboard with an office in New Zealand. Brisbane was the first interstate division, opened in 1987.Since then the group has focused primarily on the southeast Asian trade and radiata furniture grade timbers out of New Zealand. Outside of that, Simmonds trades in western red cedar, treated and structural radiata and a range of board products.

HEAD OFFICE Custom Publishing Group Unit 2- 3986 Pacific Highway Loganholme 4129 Qld, Australia PUBLISHER Dennis Macready admin@industryenews.com.au CONSULTING EDITOR Jim Bowden Tel: +61 7 3256 1779 Mob: 0401 312 087 cancon@bigpond.net.au ADVERTISING Tel: +61 7 3256 1779 cancon@bigpond.net.au PRODUCTION MANAGER Leigh Macready production@industryenews.com.au

Sandalwood .. rapid growth From Page 8

TFS has acquired a substantial land bank that includes more than 2800 ha of land suitable for the cultivation and optimum growth of sandalwood to maintain the current level planting into the future. The Australian Tropical Forestry Initiative in association with Forestlands Consulting

is assisting in a detailed examination of the potential of the forestry and the wood products industry in the tropical north of Australia. This investigation is being financially assisted by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Forest and Wood Products Australia.

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Opinions expressed on Timber & Forestry e news are not necessarily the opinions of the editor, publisher or staff. We do not accept responsibility for any damage resulting from inaccuracies in editorial or advertising. The Publisher is therefore indemnified against all actions, suits, claims or damages resulting from content on this e news. Content cannot be reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher- Custom Publishing Group.

issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 9


flood crisis

Post-war military-style operation directs huge recovery program across the state From Page 4

water reserves are full. Anything above 100% relates to a dam’s flood compartments. After the peak in the lower Brisbane River passes, releases will be increased to 301,000 ml a day, although it has not yet been determined when this will occur. These releases will be to empty the flood compartments in preparation for any further rain, expected as a monsoon trough remains over north Queensland and the northern Coral Sea. Meanwhile, in northern New South Wales, an acute shortage of logs represents a grim start for the timber industry. Executive director of the NSW Forest Products Association

Chinchilla, in the heart of cypress country west of Toowoomba, has seen it all before. An inland sea engulfed the town last week.

Russ Ainley said after a long period of wet weather last year followed by flood rains this month, many sawmills have run out of logs and won’t get

any until the forests dry up and Forests NSW assesses the damage. “There’s virtually no timber in the yards,” he said. “The

government was unable to deliver logs at the end of last year, surprisingly even in dry periods so we’re down on supply and no chance of getting any from the bush.” NSW Forests has claimed it did not have the contractor strength or suitable weather to deliver log supplies. “They’ve been blaming wet weather since September and now we’re starved for wood,” Mr Ainley said. “I’m waiting for some government somewhere to ask for a supply of logs to repair bridges. I’ll have to tell them they’ve got them tied up in national parks and if they can deliver them to us we’ll square ‘em up for them.”

passages

Timber magnate Sir Richard Carter has died SIR Richard Carter, a former Carter Holt Harvey executive chairman and third-generation member of the Kiwi timber dynasty, has died aged 75. He was the great-grandson of Francis Carter, who in the late 1800s founded a lumber

business that went on to become part of the New Zealand forestry giant at the end of the 20th century. In 1971 forestry and wood products firm Carter Consolidated merged with sawmill company Holt to form

Carter Holt Holdings. Under Sir Richard’s leadership that business went on to merge with Alex Harvey Industries in 1985 and one of New Zealand’s biggest businesses, Carter Holt Harvey, was born.

Graeme Hart’s Rank Group eventually bought Carter Holt Harvey in 2006 for $3.3 billion. Sir Richard’s funeral was held last week at Waytemore Farm in Paparimu, south of Auckland.

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Page 10 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

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flood crisis

City and people washed away by wall of water

EWPs that tick ALL the boxes Engineered wood products manufactured by EWPAA member companies top the list

A sea on top of a mountain .. flood waters peak and do their worst in Toowoomba.

DRAMATIC scenes unfolded last week in Toowoomba as a flash flood virtually drowned the city before subsiding within three hours, leaving scenes of destruction and taking lives. Drivers were washed away in their cars, a house was swept off its foundations, a railway line was suspended in midair and a shipping container ripped up roads as the rushing waters savaged Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley, Grantham and Murphys Creek in just one hour. Timber merchant Ross Simon said the disaster unfolded at a breath-taking place. “One moment people were walking ankle-deep in water along the main street wondering how this could happen when a huge wall of brown water thundered through minutes later sweeping all before it,” he said. Mr Simon said his timber yard, although subject to some flooding, escaped serious damage. “Water just flowed down the hills into the yards and we put some good old hardwood sleepers to use to push it aside.”

He said staff and their families were lucky to escape the floods and were out and about helping others. Many tragic stories were unfolding. “There was no way Toowoomba could have been prepared for this. The sheer force of the wave of storm water rushed through a valley in a funnel between the city’s two peaks. It was all over as quickly as it started. “The fact is both sides of the town have been steadily drenched by rain since September, so the water didn’t get into the ground, it just ran off. “An enormous amount of water hit the creeks at one time – and it was all over in 2-5 minutes.” Mr Simon noted that brick veneer slab homes were ripped apart while many old timber houses survived. This scene was repeated along the coast at Maryborough, Bundaberg and Rockhampton. He related a story he heard that a solid hardwood timber house in Helidon had been lifted by flood waters and floated to Grantham in the Lockyer Valley Cont Page 15

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issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 11


SILVICULTURE MANAGEMENT

The lonely tree concept

Back to basics for optimal production of plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs FOR silvicultural success, I believe it is necessary to think beyond the perimeters of experience and even education. Essentially, I have found the process of going back to basics to be of great value, as has what I believe to be the basis of good silviculture, keen observation and informed deduction. Further, I have found it impossible to dispute this challenge: how can you manage the growth of a stand optimally if you do not know the potential growth of the individuals within that stand?” This led me to research and to promote the ‘lonely tree’ concept which I now believe to be beyond challenge as the correct silvicultural management approach for optimal production of plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs. Essentially, this approach demands thinning interventions

Managed for plantation sawlogs .. Eucalyptus grandis at Rivera, Uruguay at 15.5 years.

Page 12 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

such that, from their earliest age, plantation trees are never in aerial competition, one with the other. The result of applying this approach is that crown diameter increment is maximised .. and, consequently, stem diameter increment is maximised. As a further and more fundamental result, when this thinning is combined with judicious pruning interventions, sawlog value increment is maximised. In addition, I believe that the “lonely tree” concept: • Is primarily responsible for producing sawlogs with growth stresses at such subdued levels that they can be judged as being never more than a nuisance. • Can make some claim to providing a positive contribution to maintenance of a sound health status. • Is the clearly superior vehicle for delivery of success to a ‘trees-on-farms’ strategy. Those claiming that plantationgrown eucalypt wood lacks the (higher level) properties of the wood of the same species from native forests are correct. This is particularly true for basic density and (janka) hardness. However, such admission – while acknowledging that plantation-grown eucalypt wood has different properties – does not infer that plantationgrown eucalypt wood is inferior. My experience is that plantationgrown eucalypt sawlogs can be more than good. They can be excellent. No native forest sawlogs can match the recoveries and grade yields obtained from eucalypt sawlogs from plantations subject to the

Professional forester and international forest industry consultant EVAN SHIELD has had a close association with the development of a large and successful project involving plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs and their conversion / processing into high quality lumber for global markets. Now covering a period of 18 years, this experience has led to some firm opinions about this business. highest standards of silvicultural management. Moreover, no other eucalypt sawlogs can be converted with the productivity achievable for plantation-grown sawlogs in a competently designed and managed sawmill. Consider that around the world: • There are many thousands of sawmills converting plantationgrown eucalypt sawlogs into low-value, green-off-saw industrial lumber (for pallet and packaging stock, for concrete form-work etc). • There are also several hundred sawmills converting plantationgrown eucalypt sawlogs into structural lumber, a strategy I

believe to be flawed because of fundamental competitiveness issues. • There are a handful of sawmills converting plantationgrown eucalypt sawlogs into appearance-grade lumber for such applications as flooring, furnishings, fit-outs and finishing. I believe that, in the considerable majority of cases, each mill is doing the best it can with the sawlog resources available to it. I also believe that the standards of silvicultural management applied to the eucalypt plantations on which these sawmills are dependent are the pre-eminent factors determining their status in the hierarchy described. ‘My experience is that plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs can be more than good. They can be excellent. No native forest sawlogs can match the recoveries and grade yields obtained from eucalypt sawlogs from plantations subject to the highest standards of silvicultural management’ Only excellence in silvicultural management will allow plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs to fulfil their highly significant potential. Do we need to know more about growing and converting / processing plantation-grown eucalypt sawlogs? Of course we do! In particular, we need to know much more about drying plantation-grown eucalypt lumber from such potentially important species as E. nitens.

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WOOD PROMOTION

Sweden inspires France to build in wood

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solution to climate change since it binds carbon dioxide and is a renewable raw material. The target groups for the French campaign are the general public and the building industry. The campaign consists of a commercial which is being shown on French television.

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MUCH-loved industry identity Rhonda O’Neill has died at her home in Casino, NSW. Rhonda was very well known to the whole forest industry of Australia, and particularly in New South Wales for her work in building the Forest Protection Society, now Timber Communities Australia. “Her dedication and commitment to the people who lived and worked in and around the industry, the communities that they lived in and the timber businesses was the source of great representation for many years,” NSW Forest Products Association chief executive Russ Ainley said. “She was a tower of strength for everyone who knew her.” Rhonda’s husband Mick O’Neil is also well known to the industry through Northern NSW Forestry Services. Rhonda’s funeral will be held at Woodenbong this week.

The goal of the French wood campaign is to persuade consumers to choose wood and wood products for interiors, building and renovation projects. The important role of wood for the environment and society is highlighted with the message that wood can offer a

ne ree

Rhonda a true Industry friend

“The French government’s decision to increase the proportion of wood in French buildings means that the market for Swedish and Finnish wood products in France has fantastic potential,” says Mikael Grevesmühl, CEO of Stora Enso Bois.

G

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Forest Foundation are driving a television campaign in France designed to inspire Frenchmen to build more in wood. The campaign – ‘I say YES to wood to say NO to CO2’ – aims to position wood as an environmentally friendly material. With an annual import of 3.9 million cub m. France is one of the largest markets in Europe for sawn softwood. France is therefore an important and growing market for the Swedish and Finnish forest industries. The campaign in France is the biggest European investment for 2010, for both the Swedish Forest Industries Federation and the Finnish Forest Foundation.

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Visit: www.osmose.com.au or phone: 1800 088 809 Osmose® and MicroPro® are registered trademarks of Osmose, Inc. or its subsidiaries. A Better Earth Idea from Osmose sm and Treated Wood Just Got Greener sm are slogan marks of Osmose Inc and its subsidiaries. GREENGUARD® is a registered trademark of GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. MicroPro timber products are produced by independently owned and operated wood preserving facilities.

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issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 13


INDUSTRY NEWS

Dinner Sponsor

When: Friday, 4 February 2011 (final day of the Flooring and Finishes Showcase) Time: 7.00pm Venue: Premier venue on beautiful Sydney Harbour: Doltone House, South Pier, Piers 19-21, Level 3, 26-32 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont Point NSW 2009

ATFA ANNUAL CONVENTION AND AWARDS DINNER ATFA invites you to the Annual Convention Dinner and Awards Ceremony on the final evening of the Flooring and Finishes Showcase. The Master of Ceremonies; Andrew Daddo will announce the winners during a three course dinner at one of Sydney’s premier harbour front venues. The ATFA Timber Floor of the Year Awards & the Annual Industry Awards for Excellence recognise outstanding workmanship and expertise in the timber flooring industry. Join us to celebrate the individuals and businesses that raise the bar in Australia’s timber flooring community. I would like to purchase ____ tickets at $145 each. I would like to purchase ____ tables of ten at $1375 each. Name: ______________________________________________________

Cost: $145 per person including three course dinner and drinks. Tables of ten $1375

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Payment Electronic bank deposit to the ANZ Bank (acc name: Australian Timber Flooring Association Limited acc details: BSB 014 531 ACC 4841 08922).Fax confirmation to 1300 36 1793

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Page 14 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

Refunds will only be provided where a participant withdraws 14 days prior to the event or if the event is cancelled or postponed. ATFA accepts no liability for travel/accommodation costs incurred due to event cancelation or postponement.

Advertising: Tel +61 7 3256 1779 Email: cancon@bigpond.net.au


flood crisis

Industry friends dig deep for timber businesses suffering flood damage REALSING many frame and truss plant operations in Queensland and northern NSW will be affected by floods disaster, FTMA Australia has set up a national equipment for sale or donation list. “Once floods have subsided, rebuilding must commence and I am sure many businesses will be seeking equipment,” executive officer Kersten Gentle said. “Obviously most of the large equipment will be fine but the electrical equipment such as hand drills, drop saws, general cutting equipment, and leads will be needed.” During visits to frame and truss operations, Kersten says she has seen many plants with spare equipment stacked up against a back wall and she thought this might be a good time to provide details on the equipment including a photo

and a price. FTMA Australia will gather this information and put in to a document which can be placed on the association’s website providing those who need to replace equipment easy access to assist in the rebuilding. “Our hearts go out to everyone in Queensland and northern NSW suffering from floods and for those communities facing bushfires south of Perth,” Kersten said. “What is happening in these states is simply devastating and hard to believe. As someone who lived in a community threatened during the 2009 Black Saturday fires, I fully understand how hard it is to comprehend what is happening to these communities, families and friends who are in the path of Mother Nature’s destruction. “I also understand Australians want to get in and help but

don’t know how or what they can do.” FTMA Australia will be contacting the federal forestry minister Joe Ludwig to seek access to the remaining funds in the Forest Industry Development Fund (FIDF). “This may also be able to assist timber industry related businesses that have been affected to perhaps upgrade equipment,” Kersten said. “The FIDF had two rounds of funding opportunities and not all the funds were allocated. “The minister stated at the last Forest and Wood Products Council that there may not be another round and that the funds may no longer be accessible. However, we believe this is a good opportunity for industry to access this money which was allocated for industry development.” Those affected by the disaster

can contact Kersten on 0418 226 242 or email kersten@ ftmaaustralia.com.au “There may be things you need specifically for your family and we are happy to coordinate this through the frame and truss industry as we are all thinking of you during these extremely difficult times,” Kersten added. Meanwhile, residents of the small Victorian town of Kinglake are digging deep to raise money for victims of the Queensland floods. Kinglake was one of the towns hardest hit by the Black Saturday Bushfires almost two years ago. The local community radio station, Kinglake Ranges Radio, has held a benefit to raise funds for Queensland’s flood victims. The station’s volunteer broadcasters were on air for 24 hours and have so far raised more than $6000.

Timber houses best survivors in flood From Page 11

to be deposited beside a pub completely intact. Mr Simon said his timber business, Sid’s Place, had about 6-7 weeks of log stocks in its Millmerran yards. “Getting logs in future will be extremely difficult as most of the state’s hardwood mills and many cypress operations have been severely impacted by the floods.” He agreed the industry would be called on to help rebuild the state. “But this is not a very good way to be part of a building boom – on the back of such tragedy.” Meanwhile, the managing director of Hyne John McNamara has flown to the company’s Maryborough operation to meet with executives and assess the

Forest roads flooded and dangerous.

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affects of floods on sawmills at Imbil and Tuan. The Granville bridge has suffered significant structural damage halting transport in and out of the region. Acting general manager of Forestry Plantations Queensland Michael Robinson said it was still too early to assess the full extent of any flood damage in the field. Plantation road closures are expected and there is an increased risk of vehicles becoming stranded. FPQ recommends that the public avoid using plantation roads during continuing wet weather conditions. Anyone encountering significant road or infrastructure damage or fallen trees should advise their local FPQ office.

issue 156 | 17.01.11 | Page 15


2- 4 february 2011 –sydney exhibition centre

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Page 16 | issue 156 | 17.01.11

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