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ISSUE 279 | 27.07.13 | PAGE 1

Caution urged on NZ log price hike

THIS ISSUE • nZ forest levy takes vital step • Forest industry critical of ets scheme

Overseas demand puts pressure on domestic supply and building costs

More than 50% of the total sawlog harvest is exported as logs – a world record for any country, even Russia. Managing director of Pentarch Forest Products Peter Hill said from Auckland that log exporters welcomed the exchange rate which had almost made up for the dip in C&F prices in China. “But this must be tempered by the resultant rise in domestic fuel prices which have jumped about 10c litre in recent weeks,” he said.

On the rise .. log exports from New Zealand.

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“WE haven’t popped the champagne corks just yet,” said a New Zealand forest grower commenting on the higher values being received for export logs as the kiwi dollar continues to fall below parity with the US currency. The New Zealand forest owning sector has been hanging its hat on a huge growth in log exports – mostly to China – in recent years. Log exports have increased from less than 7 million cub m in 2008 to almost 14 million cub m in 2012, and remain on track for another boom year.

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ISSUE 279 | 22.07.13 | PAGE 1


industry news

Timber businesses on knife edge with state royalties hike Bullying tactics criticised THE demise of the state’s largest cypress pine sawmilling business is a clear indication that timber processors are doing it tough in Queensland. Timber Queensland said the unfortunate circumstances that triggered Toowoomba-based N.K. Collins Industries to call in administrators after 65 years of operation could also cause other sawmillers to follow suit. CEO Rod McInnes said local timber businesses were being pushed to the wall. “Industry is doing it tough, real tough and is on a knife-edge regarding costs. The spectre of further raw material increases by way of increased state government royalties does not bode well for our industry’s future,” Mr McInnes said. Timber Queensland said the cypress industry received very welcome 25-year supply agreements from the state government earlier this year which would underpin future log supply. Prices (royalties) were adjusted from January 1 when the 25-year supply agreements came into force. “Now the government is seeking to further increase royalties in an attempt to use their monopoly supply powers to force a further increase – just because they can. They’ve even engaged accounting giant Ernst & Young to assist them in this process.” Mr McInnes said now was not the time to bully industry into paying more royalty. The government should let industry consolidate and wait

Improving our industry’s capacity to develop and maintain a skilled workforce ............................

Rod McInnes .. timber industry pushed to the wall.

until the market improved before gouging further increases. “We already have a pricing formula which sees royalties increase as market prices increase,” he said. “Other mills may follow N.K. Collins into liquidation if the government doesn’t pull its head in on this issue.” Meanwhile, the administrators of N.K. Collins – now in voluntary receivership – are looking for buyers for the 65-year-old company. The company currently employs about 40 people and operates five mills in southern and western Queensland. Liquidator Terry Van Der Velde of SV Partners says the cypress sawmiller isn’t in a position to trade its way out of difficulty. “At the moment, we’re trying to secure sales of different parts of the business, for example, the head office in Toowoomba, and we’ve had preliminary discussions with an interested party,” he said.

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‘the government should let industry consolidate and wait until the market improved before gouging further increases’ – rod Mcinnes PAgE 2 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

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industry news

nZ, Australia industries the same, but different – in different sectors From Page 1

“We are a very diesel-oriented industry, so cost of production will go up and this will eat away at margins,” Mr Hill said. [The NZ dollar has been under 80c for more than a month and was sitting on 78.7c at the end of last week]. Glen Mackie, a senior policy analyst at New Zealand Forest Owners, said although export log sales were returning more NZ dollars, the industry had to keep a close watch on the cost of getting the logs to the market. “We’re a long way from these markets and it’s a delicate balance when it comes to costs and this has to be managed carefully,” he said. “What the market really dislikes is volatility, so it’s not how much the dollar drops but how fast it drops or whether it just bounces around. “Volatility is very dangerous and hard to manage.” Strong overseas demand for New Zealand logs is putting pressure on the domestic supply and pushing up timber prices for consumers. While good for export values, the increased demand means people at home are paying more for timber as wood processors try to secure supply. Paul Taylor, general manager marketing for ITM Building Centre, said timber prices in the yard had generally gone up about 5-10% this year. “The current increase is due mainly to the increasing cost of logs to sawmills,” he said. “This is being driven primarily by demand from Asia, combined with reduced log supply to China from North American sources.” Much of the timber that would have traditionally gone to China from North America had been diverted to meet the rebounding

Bound for China .. logs arrive for loading at Port Otago’s dock in Port Chalmers, New Zealand.

US housing market, Mr Taylor said. The approximate timber value in a 230-250 sq m house was $12,000, meaning the impact of the timber price increase would be about $600 to $1200, he said. Dennis Neilson, industry consultant and convenor of the Oceania forest plantation and wood products trade conference in Melbourne next month, says the New Zealand and Australian forest industries are both the same and different – in different sectors. He said more than 50% of total sawlog harvested in New Zealand was exported as logs. “This is a controversial statistic which has many wood processers and ‘addvalue’ proponents calling their politicians to restrict exports,” Mr Neilson said. “However, to date at least, various governments have been ideological in their

adherence to the free market with no interference.” He said the Australian government was equally ‘free market’, and (softwood) plantation logs could be exported without restriction. Until recently, the log export trade was a side business in Australia – maybe to get rid of a few logs hard to sell domestically. This is changing – but by how much? From only around 900,000 cub m shipped as recently as 2009, shipments in May 2013 were the second highest on record (at an annualised rate of 2.9 million cub m). Some ports are gearing up for even larger volumes. “However, where the Australian federal and state governments do differ from the New Zealand government is in their attitudes to forking out subsidies to industry,” Mr Neilson said. “The well publicised car manufacturing subsidies in Australia are legendary, but

‘what the market really dislikes is volatility, so it’s not how much the dollar drops but how fast it drops or whether it just bounces around’ – Glen Mackie

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subsidies are also paid to the forest industry sector. Two recent examples are viewed with envy and some annoyance by some folks living on the Eastern Isles. “One was subsidies and loans paid by the federal and Tasmanian governments to ensure the Norkse Skog paper mill at Boyer not only remained open, but got expanded. “This decision likely doomed the company’s mill in New Zealand to close (yet another) newsprint machine in early 2013. “The other has been the South Australian government’s offer to subside 50% of the costs of a wood processing company’s projects to improve production and costs. A number of mills have taken advantage of this generosity, including the Timberlink mill at Tarpeena with a $8 million state government injection announced last week.” Mr Neilson said in contrast – “apart from Hobbit films and casinos” – the New Zealand government seemed ideologically opposed to any subsidies. “Those wood processing mills that don’t make it just fold and die.” Unlike logs, hardwood woodchip exports are still (and increasingly) subject to severe competition on price from southeast Asia. An example is January to May shipments from Vietnam to Asian mills being up 35% from a year ago to 2.8 million BDMT, while exports from Australia were down 25% at 1.1 million BDMT. All this, and much more, will be discussed at the DANA Oceania Forest Plantation and Wood Products Trade conference in Melbourne on August 8 and 9. Visit www.prcc.com.au/ danamelbourne2013 or contact Pam Richards at pam@prcc. com.au

issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 3


industry news

INNOVATION l TECHNOLOGY l DESIGN

robbing Peter to pay Paul in move to an ets scheme THE Australian Forest Products Association is disappointed and perplexed that the federal government plans to fund the early move to an emissions trading scheme partly by cutting into the carbon farming futures program. “This program is designed to assist land managers to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative, thereby increasing involvement in emissions management and carbon storage activities that will offset emissions from other sources,” CEO Ross Hampton said. “Slashing one third of the funds for this program sends a negative message to the forestry industry about its contribution to Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy.” The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has confirmed that the carbon tax will be replaced by an emissions trading scheme, at a cost to the budget of $3.8 billion over the next four years, with this to be offset by cutting $356 million in funding from the Biodiversity Fund and Carbon Farming Futures, among other programs. National Farmers Federation CEO Matt Linnegar said it was extremely disappointing that the government had chosen to fund its new emissions trading scheme, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by cutting funding to two important programs that help farmers store carbon and continue their work as Australia’s frontline environmentalists. “Cutting the carbon tax is something the NFF had long advocated for, due to the additional and unnecessary costs it adds into Australian farm businesses. The early move to an emissions trading

PAgE 4 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

Ross Hampton .. decision sends negative message.

Matt Linnegar .. cutting funds to important programs.

scheme will reduce these costs, because the current international carbon price is lower than the fixed price under the tax,” Mr Linnegar said. “But the decision by the government to offset the cost of moving to an emissions trading scheme by scrapping unallocated funds from the Biodiversity Fund and the Carbon Farming Futures program means they risk, once again, robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The Carbon Farming Futures program delivers the science and extension to help rural industries manage their land in way that reduces emissions and leads to enhanced productivity.

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wHAt’s On?

AUGUST

8-9: dAnA 2013: Oceania Plantation, Forest and wood Products trade Conference. Bayview Eden Hotel, Melbourne. Email: enquiry@prcc.com.au www.prcc.com.au/ danamelbourne2013 16: institute of Foresters of Australia (Qld division) AGM and seminar. Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, 2pm. RSVP Monday, August 12. Contact: Emma Leslie-Mohr, IFA QLD division secretary on 0429 270 622. Email: Emma.Leslie@hqplantations.com.au 24: (saturday): the Cat Goes Gold. Brisbane Hoo-Hoo Club 218 50th anniversary celebration. Fratelli Italian Ristorante, 103 Crosby Road, Albion, Brisbane. Contact 0401 312 087 or 0428 745 455 for bookings.

sePteMBer 3-5: woodeXPO 13 – Albury, nsw. 11-13: woodeXPO 13, Rotorua, NZ. World leaders in wood processing, manufacturing and new product technologies will speak at the region’s first ‘business-tobusiness’ wood industry show. The new expo will provide local companies – management as well as production staff – exposure to new technologies that can improve their own efficiencies and productive capability. Leading technology providers from Europe, North America and Asia will join with each of the main equipment and product suppliers from New Zealand and Australia. Full details on the expo, summit and technology workshops are available on www.woodexpo2013.com

27: FsC Friday. A global celebration of the world’s forests highlighting the importance of responsible forest management. Every year, schools, businesses, individuals, forest owners/managers and other organisations around the world get involved in spreading the word about FSC and responsible forestry. Visit http://www.fscfriday. org/index.htm

OCtOBer 11: Forest and wood Products Australian AGM. In conjunction with meeting of the Australian Timber Importers Federation and an industry value chain seminar. An industry dinner is planned for Thursday evening, October 10. Information about the AGM and seminar will be circulated at a later date. 11: Forest and wood Products Australia (FwPA) AGM and research forum. Time: 8:30-10:30 am. Venue: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour Hotel, Sydney. Inquiries to Ric Sinclair, FWPA (03) 9927 3200 or ric.sinclair@fwpa. com.au 11: Building stronger value chains – Australian timber industry seminar. Time: 10.30 am-5 pm. Venue: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour Hotel, Sydney. Joint hosts: Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA); the Australian Timber Importers Federation (ATIF) and Timber Merchants and Building Material Association (TABMA). This will be the industry’s ‘must-attend’ event for 2013. Inquiries to John Halkett, ATIF (02) 9356 3826; Colin Fitzpatrick, TABMA (02) 9277 3100 Ric Sinclair, FWPA (03) 9927 3200 or Eileen Newbury, Leading Edge Events International (03) 9597 0948.

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eVents

Seminar sponsorship inquiries to John Halkett. 11: Australian timber industry annual gala dinner and awards presentation. Time 7:30 pm onwards. Timber and Building Material Association (TABMA) Doltone House, Pyrmont, Sydney. Pre-dinner drinks 6:30 pm. Inquiries to Colin Fitzpatrick, TABMA (02) 9277 3100 or colin@tabma. com.au

nOVeMBer 23: tABMA Queensland timber industry gala dinner. Moda Events Portside Level 2, Portside Wharf Hamilton. Contact Alicia on (07) 3254 3166 or alicia@tabma.com.au

deCeMBer 4-5. Focus on improving transport and logistics in the forestry sector. It will build on the

excellent program designed by the Forest Industry Engineering Association. Visit www.foresttechevents.com

FeBruAry 2014 17-21: Gottstein wood science Course, Melbourne. Inquiries to Dr Silvia Pongracic (Gottstein Trust), 0418 764 954 or secretary@gottsteintrust. org or www.gottsteintrust.org

MArCH 2014 19: Forestwood 2014 Conference. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. Contact the conference organiser Paardekooper and Associates. Tel +64 4 562 8259. Email: info@forestwood.org.nz www. forestwood.org.nz

Australia’s forest, wood, pulp and paper products industry now has a stronger voice in dealings with government, the community and in key negotiations on the industry’s future, as two peak associations have merged to form a single national association. The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has been formed through the merger of the Australian Plantations Products and Paper Industry Council (A3P) and the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI). AFPA was established to cover all aspects of Australia’s forest industry: - Forest growing; - Harvest and haulage; - Sawmilling and other wood processing; - Pulp and paper processing; and - Forest product exporting. For more information on the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) or to enquire about membership , please call (02) 6285 3833.

ISSUE 279 | 22.07.13 | PAGE 5


wOOd PreserVAtiOn

US scientist in wood protection elected new irG world president Australian, NZ delegates at Stockholm conference AN American research scientist with the world’s largest manufacturer of green pest management products has been appointed president of the International Research Group on Wood Protection. Dr Jeff Lloyd, corporate vice-president of research and development at Nisus Corporation, was appointed for a three-year term at the organisation’s annual conference in Stockholm, Sweden. He succeeds Queensland wood preservation scientist and consultant Jack Norton, who remains an IRG executive with a three-year vice-presidency. The Nisum Corporation, founded in 1990 in Knoxville, Tennessee, also manufactures green products used in wood preservation; Cellutreat Liquid Borate DOT and QNAP copper naphthenate are used for the treatment of railroad ties, utility poles and lumber across the US as well as other parts of the world. A good representation of Australian and New Zealand scientists were among the 150

PAgE 6 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

delegates in Stockholm for the conference from June 16 to 20. IRG is an international nonprofit group that focuses on the latest developments and research in wood protection by providing the opportunity to develop and foster interaction between scientists from all over the world. It does this principally through its annual and regional conferences as well as working with different bodies active in the field. The annual meeting is hosted by a different country every year – Malaysia in 2012 and the US in 2014. IRG has now been meeting for more than 40 years and has members representing more than 50 countries. “This is an incredible honour,” Dr Jeff Lloyd said. “I consider this appointment as a pinnacle in my career in wood protection, and I hope I can do justice to the position.” Dr Lloyd has been involved with IRG since he was a graduate student with his first paper, ‘The Mechanisms of Action of Borate Wood Treatments’ in 1991. Dr Lloyd’s first IRG meeting

Dr Jeff Lloyd .. appointment pinnacle of career in wood preservation.

was in 1992 in Kyoto, Japan. He was able to attend with assistance through winning the Ron Cockcroft award, a merit-based program for full time students that promotes

international awareness of developments in research in wood protection. Over the years, he has served as diffusible preservatives working party convener, wood protecting chemicals vice-chair and chair as well as serving on the executive committee. For the past three years he has served as IRG vice-president. “I would urge anyone involved in wood protection or wood destroying organism research and control to become a member of the group,” Dr Lloyd said. “It has been of great value to me personally and is a great way for our company to keep ahead of the curve. It has also enabled us to have active research programs with other members across the world.” Dr Lloyd has more than 20 years’ experience in preservation, pest control and forest pathology research, technical service and global market development. He holds degrees in Applied Biology and Microbiology as well as a Ph.D. Cont Page 7

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wOOd PreserVAtiOn

Great way to keep ahead of the curve IRG promotes active research programs around the world From Page 6

in Biochemistry/Preservation Technology from Imperial College at The University of London, England. He has authored numerous scientific publications and is a member of several industry and scientific organisations, including the American Wood Protection Association and the Railroad Tie Association, and is a fellow of the Institute of Wood Science. He holds several patents, including patents on the use

Plant register: TPAA takes responsibility

of calcium borate to protect wood composites and the use of borates on concrete as a termite barrier. British by birth, Dr Lloyd, 46, is married with two children and was recently naturalised as a US citizen. He lives in east Tennessee. The IRG conference each year presents up to 190 papers, all available free to members and sponsors in electronic format through IRG’s searchable database. Since its inception in 1969, nearly 5000 IRG papers have been published.

Jack Norton .. remains on IRG executive as past president.

The next meeting of the International Research Group on Wood Protection – IRG 45 – will be held in the US from May 11 to 15 at the Dixie Convention Centre in St George, Utah. Previous IRG meetings have been held in the US in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1980, in Orlando, Florida, in 1993, in Kona, Hawaii, in 2000, and at Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, in 2007. The next meeting follows a developed tradition of holding the IRG annual meeting in the US every seven years.

Wood Protection

THE S1604.1 2012 specification for preservative treatment: sawn and round timber (clause 8.2.1) requires that for all hazard classes each piece of treated timber shall be legibly marked with a treatment plant number, preservative code number and hazard class. The standard currently states that the body administering the allocation and registration of treatment plant numbers and preservative code numbers is Forests NSW. Its successor the Forestry Corporation of NSW no longer does this and has allocated that responsibility to the Timber Preservers Association of Australia (TPAA). It is relevant that the standard makes no reference to government legislation such as the Timber Utilisation and Marketing Act (TUMA) or the Timber Marketing Act (TMA) and thus the transfer of responsibility to TPAA can be adopted by a simple change to the relevant sentence in Appendix C (Section C1) of the standard. TPAA anticipates that this will be effected at the next amendment. – DOUG HOWICK, national secretary, TPAA.

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Contact the Australian Lonza team for full details of the Lonza value package. phone:1300 650 636 issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 7


industry news

DANA Melbourne ‘Oceania Plantation and Wood Products Trade Conference: August 8 and 9, 2013 With less than a month to go until the DANA Melbourne Conference, it is time to register! There will be many “highlight” presentations at the meeting, all presented by recognised and highly regarded speakers on:

• The Oceania plantation transaction trade – given a very recent boost by a huge closing of the NF ANZ II Fund.

• The softwood and hardwood woodchip trade: from a

suppliers’, and an importers’ viewpoint; – and just how much pulpwood does Australia have?

• Oceania woodpellets – will they have a future with the expected new Asian demand growth?

• The global and Pacific Rim softwood log and lumber

supply demand and supply balance. Is a supercycle in the making – and how Oceania lumber production, domestic and export sales trends fit into this?

• The rapidly growing Oceania log export trade – how far can it go?

• The Pacific Rim Wood Panel industry, and where Oceania production might fit in the future.

• Global and Pacific Rim pulp and paper industries: has Oceania got much of a long term future in these industries?

• Tree-based carbon; moribund recently, but what might

give, with one new, and maybe yet another PM in 2013.

• A panel discussing exciting new biofuel and

biochemical developments, and (legal) engineered hardwood products. Small number of panel slots remain available.

• Keynote addresses on policy and supply chain issues so vital to the industry; and other talks on statistics, a new study on wood product manufacturing options, and FSC issues

We are u nlikely to again see such a strong li presente nkup of rs cover ing all impor tant the Ocea aspects of nia fores try and fore st produ cts industry

To register immediately, go to: www.prcc.com.au/ danamelbourne2013 and just follow the registration links or contact Pamela Richards at pam@prcc.com.au PAgE 8 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

On target .. levy on harvested logs in New Zealand lodged with government.

nZ forests levy takes vital step Introduction likely in January AN application for the introduction of a compulsory levy on harvested logs in New Zealand has been lodged with the Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew. “This is an important step in the process of getting a levy order under the Commodity Levies Act and follows a successful forest grower referendum in March,” Forest Growers levy trust chair Geoff Thompson said. “Officials will now take several months to assess the application and all the accompanying detail about levy collection, budgeting and ongoing structure. We are fundamentally on target to introduce the levy from January 1, 2014.” The trust has consulted mills, log marketing companies and export marshalling companies about the systems that need to be in place to secure the log harvesting data needed for the trust to collect the levy. “Feedback from these discussions has been very helpful and will strongly influence the shape of our data collection system,” Mr Thompson said.

“Log buyers will play a central role in the system and the minister needs to be satisfied about the particulars of collection and the cooperation requested from participants.” The trust will continue to keep potential levy payers informed of developments, but this is not easy because there is no central database of forest growers to allow direct contact. Instead the trust is using its ForestVoice website, industry publications and other media. The month-long levy referendum had a successful outcome with 502 growers (86.3%) voting ‘yes’. The results on numbers voting and hectares represented by the ‘yes’ vote were the same. Analysis of the vote satisfied the trust that the turnout was on a par with similar commodity referendums. The proposed levy rate is 27c a tonne of harvested wood in the first year and can be raised to a maximum rate of 30c a tonne over the six-year term of the levy order. With sharply increased harvesting now occurring, the income from the levy is likely to exceed $6.5 million annually.

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industry news

Great Southern .. a lost dream.

tough battle ahead as grower-investors seek compensation Billions lost in botched schemes AFTER more than a decade being left out of pocket by a multi-billion-dollar timber scheme collapse, thousands of investors are still seeking compensation. Under a scheme introduced by the Howard government and maintained by Labor, businesses were granted big tax deductions for investments in managed timber plantations. The dream was to establish more than 2.5 million ha of taxpayer-funded forests to make Australia self-sufficient in plantation timber. Around 61,000 ‘growerinvestors’ were lured into such schemes by companies such as TimberCorp and Great Southern. An ABC report on the collapse of most of the schemes tells of vast swathes of the blue gum plantation timber cultivated across central Victoria and other states being set ablaze. The collateral damage to rural centres like Casterton, near the Victorian-South Australian border, has been huge. Land owners like John Diprose and David Marshall have been left in limbo. Though rental payments for trees on their land had ceased, they could neither harvest nor get rid of the trees, reports the ABC.

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 7,000 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! HEAD OFFICE Custom Publishing Group unit 2- 3986 Pacific Highway Loganholme 4129 Qld, Australia

Investors have haggled endlessly in court with liquidators and banks. Address all correspondence to “The court is ruling in favour PO Box 330, Hamilton Central, Qld 4007 of growers who say they have rights to the trees,” Mr Diprose said. “Albeit if they aren’t paying the dennis@industrye-news.com rent, and if I go in and damage the trees, I’m accountable.” PUBLISHER Mr Foster says it was very dennis Macready difficult to speak out against dennis@industrye-news.com the schemes. “You couldn’t say anything against it, you’d go to a meeting and try and get up and mention some of these practices that mAnAgIng EDITOR were wrong and you’d just get Jim Bowden hounded down,” he said. Tel: +61 7 3266 1429 Victoria’s Supreme Court is Mob: 0401 312 087 currently hearing Australia’s cancon@bigpond.net.au largest class action against Great Southern. It involves ADVERTISIng 20,000 investors. Tel: +61 7 3266 1429 In the ABC report, company cancon@bigpond.net.au director and general manager of forestry Gavin Ellis says he will give evidence that he personally discussed concerns that the company had misled investors. Great Southern’s founding director John Young Opinions expressed on timber & Forestry e news are not necessarily the opinions of the editor, publisher or staff. we do not accept responsibility has already spent $2 million for any damage resulting from inaccuracies in editorial or advertising. mounting his defence. the Publisher is therefore indemnified against all actions, suits, claims or damages resulting from content on this e news. Content cannot be His lawyer says the promoters reproduced without the prior consent of the Publisher- Custom Publishing never guaranteed the success Group. of any investments.

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issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 9


enGineered wOOd

these architects fly with ply

Plywood has evolved as a material worthy of being featured in every room of the house WHO would have thought that a celebrated husband-andwife design team, renowned for creating a cool aesthetic out of simple moulded plywood chairs in the late 40s and 50s, had previously used ply to create a lightweight and inexpensive leg splint for World War 2 sailors wounded in battle? Charles Eames (1907–1978) and his wife Ray (1912–1988) were American designers who worked in and made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture. They also worked in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art and film. Plywood, used extensively as a dependable construction and utility material during the war, was considered unremarkable until mid-century designers, particularly furniture makers, experimented with it. Plywood, many discovered, was not only readily available and cheap but conveyed the warmth of wood and came with a neat swirling grain pattern ripe for visual exploitation. Still, it took some decades for plywood to gain the sophisticated treatment the product now receives by architects in non-structural applications. And certainly it’s only been very recently that plyood has evolved as a material worthy of being featured in every room of the house, not just as a quirky product suitable for lining studios and offices. At the recent Australian Interior Design Awards 2013 (IDA), the winner of the Emerging Interior Design Practice award, South Australia’s Genesin Studio, exclusively used plywood in a redesign of Adelaide fashion retailer L.A.X interiors. Other highly regarded

PAgE 10 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

A love of plywood .. architect Clare Cousins has extended a family house in Mornington Peninsula by adding a timber-framed guest house raised up on stilt – and using plywood in major living areas.

architects, either nominated as finalists in the IDA residential categories or as winners of numerous other architectural awards, exploited the various properties of plywood as a ubiquitous design element in their submissions. “Plywood serves a number of functions simultaneously,” says sustainable architect and creative boundary-pusher Jeremy McLeod of Breathe Architecture in Brunswick, Melbourne. “It is structural bracing for a timber-framed building. It is a low-embodied energy material from a renewable resource. It is a carbon store.” One of Mr Breathe’s latest designs, Into The Woods, is a home and artist’s studio set on a sloping bushy site in Eltham, on Melbourne’s fringe. The exterior is clad in ironbark but inside, plywood walls and ceilings feature throughout. “Each sheet has its own grain,

Clare Cousins .. plywood can be a structure and a finish.

its own character and quirks. Ply gives visual richness to the project,” says Mr McLeod. Architect Clare Cousins has also used plywood in major living areas of a delightful selfcontained timber pavilion on stilts added to a 1970s beach house in Mornington, Victoria. “I love that plywood can be used for flooring, walls, ceilings and joinery,” she says

of the design which is up for numerous awards. “We quite often use it on walls and ceilings laid vertically, staggered, pin fixed and left raw. It is cost effective, easy to work with and has distinctive visual warmth and grain.” Ms Cousins was asked to add new living rooms and an extra bedroom to the singlestorey beach house. “Rather than demolish or renovate the existing building, our approach was to keep the building intact and design a new pavilion to sit adjacent,” she explained. The new elevated wing sits a storey higher than the rest of the house, creating a sheltered parking area for two cars underneath. “Planning regulations permit only first-floor structures that are located over car parking or storage areas, which informed the elevated ‘stilt’ design,” said Ms Cousins. A staircase encased in translucent polycarbonate links the house with the extension, creating a glowing junction between the new and old structures. This entrance leads into a combined living room and kitchen at the centre of the new wing. A bedroom and bathroom are tucked away at the southern end, while a balcony cantilevers from the north facade and is large enough to be used as an outdoor dining area. Wooden boards line the interior walls and ceilings, and were also used to build kitchen cabinets. In Sydney, Hannah Tribe of eponomously named architectural firm Tribe Studio Architects has recently used plywood to feature in the Cont Page 11

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enGineered wOOd

Jeremy McLeod .. plywood serves a number of functions simultaneously.

Plywood can be faced in extremely beautiful timbers in a rich finish renovation of her own home as well as many others. From Page 10

“Everyone is familiar with the kind of low grade, splintery, unfinished, knotty plywood that is used for hoardings and covering up holes on site,” she says. “But at the other end of the scale, plywood can be faced in extremely beautiful timbers and finished richly.” In the multi-award winning Milner Shmukler House in Rose Bay, Ms Tribe’s use of the humble hardworking material is in virtually every room. “I love that plyood can be a structure and a finish.” she says. “Plywood is stable, sustainable, comes in many different grades and can be really beautiful. For

this house and others, we use lots of different timber veneers on the face, and often use a super-thin laminate layer on top for wet applications, like benchtops.” It seems award-winning interior designers and architects can’t get enough of the simple aesthetic evident in the grainstreaked surface and blunt multi-layered edges of plywood sheets, which are essentially just thin layers of wood veneer bonded together. Plywood, now lining the living rooms, forming the kitchen cabinetry, tiling the floor, and even used as bedheads and dados in some of Australia’s most avant-garde homes, looks to have finally come of age. – With extracts from the Newcastle Herald.

Innovative .. rather than demolish or renovate, the approach was to keep the building intact and add new living rooms and an extra bedroom to the single-storey beach house.

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issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 11


BuiLdinG stAndArds

Leed gaining more power in us green building certification rules

Cradle-to-cradle vote win for environmental demands AS pressure builds from special interests in the US for the federal government to ditch its preference for LEED certification of buildings, the latest version of LEED has been approved, making it more powerful than ever. Members of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) voted overwhelmingly (85%) to include ‘cradle to cradle’ certification in the LEED V4, which will even more stringently enforce the environmental qualities of materials used in green buildings, the opposite of what industry interests want. Developed by pre-eminent architect Willam McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, ‘cradle to cradle’ certification begins as part of LEED in November. “We salute the USGBC’s courageous leadership in making material health a priority in the face of immense challenge from industry,” Mr McDonough said. “The stand they have taken will help continue their meaningful input as an agent of market transformation.” Those seeking LEED certification will get credits for materials and resources for disclosing and optimising where building materials are sourced and purchased. Buildings that have at least 20 cradle to cradle certified products can earn points, or a project must use “at least 25%, by cost, of the total value of permanently installed building products”. For wood products, the credit requires products “certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or USGBC-approved equivalent”. Reused or recycled materials are the other primary means for achievement of this

PAgE 12 | issuE 279 | 22.07.13

LEED platinum .. the Adam Joseph Lewis Centre at Oberlin College, Ohio, USA, features a roof covered entirely in solar panels and sections of timber cladding with about half the building consisting of glass windows to let in more natural light. The building would be rated LEED platinum, but it was built before the LEED system was established.

Michael Brauangart

William McDonough

credit. Products sourced within 160 km are valued at 200% of their cost. During the LEED V4 comment periods (six over three years) there was intense debate about how high to set the bar for materials and resources.

FSC argued for maintaining a high bar, using the credit to require key environmental protections and recognise the top performers in any given sector. “With the debate over LEED V4 standards now settled, we

‘with the debate over Leed V4 standards now settled, we expect companies in the FsC marketplace to benefit from a new level of certainty and demand in the green building sector’ – FsC

expect companies in the FSC marketplace to benefit from a new level of certainty and demand in the green building sector,” says FSC. “We also know there are businesses, including forest landowners, mills and lumber yards, that have been waiting on the sidelines to see how the debate would resolve before committing to FSC certification.” Twenty-seven trade groups that supply the vast construction industry – including the building and plastics industries – have formed the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition, to push an industryfriendly certification, Green Globes. Michael Braungart and Willilam McDonough began collaborating on ‘cradle to cradle’ in 1991 before the USGBC was formed in 1993. Mr McDonough used those ‘waste-into-food’ concepts to design buildings before LEED came on the scene, such as Oberlin College’s Adam Joseph Lewis Centre, a building that harvests more energy than it uses, cleanses its own water, and even produces food. The essence of ‘cradle to cradle’ is the importance of a closed loop – that only materials and processes that can be re-used endlessly should be included in product design. Cradle to cradle certification, launched in 2005, rates products using five criteria: their use of environmentally safe and healthy materials; materials are designed for recycling or composting at end of life; manufacturing must make use of renewable energy and carbon management; water stewardship; and social fairness.

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industry news

ta Ann mill protesters threaten state’s forest peace agreement Enough is enough from these fringe groups: Giddings

Michael Hirst

Lara Giddings

MAINSTREAM green groups and the state government have condemned an antilogging protest at a Ta Ann’s Smithton timber mill in northwest Tasmania. About 40 activists belonging to one of the groups outside Tasmania’s forestry peace process gained access to the sawmill, shutting it down for several hours. Police have charged 18 protesters for trespass. One of the 40 activists used a bike lock to stop log trucks entering the front gate, while another three who jumped the fence chained themselves to machinery. Ta Ann Tasmania says it fully supports the forest agreement and has committed to source its wood supply outside of the agreement’s reserve areas over the long term. The agreement provides for the reservation of over 500,000 ha of additional forests and has created the extension to the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area approved by UNESCO. “The wood currently sourced to our two mills is in full compliance with the agreement, its supportive legislation, and as required by our surrender agreement with the federal government,” a Ta

Nick McKim

Ann spokesman said. “The invasion again places at risk the workers and the protesters in the mill, as well as impacting on the community at large.” Ta Ann has called on the government to do its utmost to ensure businesses are able to operate commercially and provide safe workplaces securing jobs for Tasmanians for the long term. Activist Miranda Gibson says the protesters are worried about Ta Ann’s use of Malaysian timber. Michael Hirst, Liberal candidate and spokesman for the group Give it Back, says targeting Tasmanian workers to make an international statement is taking the issue too far. “This is the great tragedy of it,” he said. “They are focusing this protest on overseas logging, but they are hurting Tasmanian workers and the Tasmanian economy. “They’ve campaigned against the regulated Tasmanian

Christine Milne

Miranda Gibson

industry for 30 years and now, not only that, they are now targeting Tasmanian workers to get an outcome in another country. “It’s gone beyond ridiculous.” Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has described the protest as unacceptable. “Enough is enough from these fringe groups; the rest of the community has moved on. “It is a selfish and unwise act of those people. It’s unsafe and I’m pleased to see that strong action has been taken by the police. “They risk with this sort of behaviour, the agreement being successful, and I don’t think they would want to see all those trees that’ve been reserved, come out of reserve,” she said. The Greens Leader Nick McKim has stopped short of condemning the protest. “Well I don’t condemn anyone’s right to have a say whether they are on one side of any debate or the other side of any debate, and I’ve already

‘the wood sourced to our two mills is in full compliance with the agreement, its supportive legislation, and as required by our surrender agreement with the federal government – ta Ann spokesman

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maintained that position,” he said. “But this kind of action, while the future of our high conservation forests is in the hands of the Upper House, is not helpful.” Mr McKim called for calm, telling the protesters to consider the “big picture for forest protection”. “Anyone who wants Tasmania’s high conservation forests protected from logging needs to consider whether this form of protest is ultimately counterproductive,” he said. The protest has been defended by national Greens leader Christine Milne. “It is very clear that people are making a strong point about Tasmania’s brand and our engagement with a company such as Ta Ann with such a poor human rights record in Sarawak,” she said. “That will come back to reflect on Tasmania in the longer term.” Tasmanian MLCs have until the end of September to make a move if they want to rip up the peace deal legislation.

issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 13


drop in home ownership tempers optimism in Canada lumber trade

Squeeze tightens on net income for sawmills CANADIAN industry economic analysts at a session hosted by Northwest Farm Credit Services expressed optimism about the future of log and lumber consumption and prices, over the next 3-5 years. However, the industry itself remains skeptical, and Random Lengths last week reported “10 reasons to be cautious about the housing recovery”. The reasons include the rise in interest rates, and a drop in the percentage of home ownership from 69.1% to 65% and an accompanying increase in apartments being built, which require only about one third as much wood as a home. Weyerhaeuser has shown its strong optimism with the longterm wood products business recently. They purchased the Longview Timber lands, located in the Northwest. This purchase, for $2.65 billion, added one-third to its Pacific Northwest holdings, an addition of 261,000 ha. This brings Weyerhaeuser’s total for the Pacific Northwest to 1,521,826 million ha, and nearly 8,498,400 ha in North America. There is a breather in some parts of the recovery, according to the economists, and the pent up demand of people to own a new house, the overall trend of the wood products industry should remain very positive over the next few years. Most likely, the slowdown in some sectors is seasonal and the result of rebalancing inventories and production that creates growing pains. Meanwhile, the housing recovery has entered a readjustment phase. Product

PAGE 14 | ISSUE 279 | 22.07.13

Downward trend .. presssures on Canadian lumber prices.

prices have decreased onethird in just two months, reacting to over-supply, from a high of $445 down to $290 per thousand board feet. There has been an equally dramatic increase in the 30year fixed rate mortgage – a half percentage point rise in one week alone, and a full percentage point rise in the last seven weeks. Housing starts and building permits are also down, compared to the regular monthly records over the last year. But in good news, Median home prices continue to inch up, but are still well below previous highs. And unsold home inventories have continued to drop, now to their lowest level in seven years – 2.5 months. Good news/bad news also

involves log prices, which normally trail product prices. Log prices tracked here, have stayed within a $20 range between January and June, after an $89 rise from December to January 2013, and a $37 rise from October to December. But the latest drop in product prices, if it holds for the rest of the building season, suggests that log prices will drop quite a bit further in the next few months. The combination of slowly adjusting log prices and decreasing product prices will create a squeeze on net income for Canadian mills. Meanwhile, the profitability outlook for Canadian businesses is stuck in neutral because of the recession in Europe and slowing growth in

the latest drop in product prices, if it holds for the rest of the building season, suggests that log prices in north America will drop quite a bit further in the next few months

China, according to a report from the Conference Board of Canada. The non-profit research agency’s leading indicator of industry profitability index was unchanged for a fourth straight month, due to the slow growth of the Canadian economy. With many European economies stalled, Canadian exports to Europe have been hurt. But China, which has driven the growth in sales of Canadian commodities, including copper, other metals and oil, is a bigger concern. Its exports slumped in July because of slowing global demand and the Chinese economy is expected to cool its rapid rate of expansion. There could be more bad news ahead for Canadian business, as the impact of flooding in Alberta and a two-week strike by construction workers in Quebec is fully felt. The Conference Board of Canada says the outlook is particularly negative for lumber and primary and fabricated metal products. The profitability index has fallen for nine of the past 12 months in the metals industry, due mainly to slumping demand from the manufacturing and construction sectors. Poor weather in the US and the expected soft landing in Canadian housing demand have hurt lumber prices and contributed to a lowering of expectations for the industry. Lumber prices in North America have been tumbling for the past two months, says the conference board.

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internAtiOnAL FOCus

Auckland on alert as outbreak of dutch elm disease spreads in nZ MORE than 200 elm trees on a privately-owned site near the rural town of Drury, near Auckland, have become infected with Dutch elm disease, making it the largest outbreak of the disease since its discovery in New Zealand in 1989. Dutch elm disease is spreading further south, with diseased trees recently destroyed. Further outbreaks have been identified in south Auckland including Rogers Park, Bucklands Beach; Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga; and the Manukau Memorial Gardens, Mangere. Diseased trees were identified as the result of regular annual monitoring and reports from members of the public and contractors. Auckland Council arboriculture and landscape advisor Simon Cook says they assisted the property owner and manager at Kingseat, the infected property, to ensure the elms were safely cleared. “Kingseat is a historic character

site with elms initially planted in the 1930s. It’s a shame that they will be losing such a significant number of trees. However, this demonstrates just how devastating the disease really is,” Mr Cook said. Dutch elm disease is usually spread by the bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus) carrying fungal spores from tree to tree, or through the transfer of diseased tree materials, but can also spread directly through root grafting between neighbouring trees. All affected trees will be treated and removed safely and all equipment used will be disinfected to ensure the disease does not spread. Mr Cook says that given the speed at which Dutch elm disease can spread, and the fact that it’s nearly always fatal for affected trees, we’re taking every precaution to ensure we remove the trees safely and contain the threat within Auckland.”

Auckland, especially as logs or firewood. Elm material that was diseased would often harbour or attract bark beetles – it must be buried, mulched or burnt.”

Simon Cook .. taking every precaution.

The disease has caused a huge loss to the landscape in those areas affected by Dutch elm disease over the last season. If the disease moves into the Waikato, where elms are prevalent in urban and rural zones, then this landscape will also be depleted of these large and significant specimen trees. Mr Cook said it critical that elm wood was not carried outside

Dutch elm disease was first discovered in Myers Park, Auckland in 1989. Following an information campaign and ongoing monitoring, it has been contained within the Auckland region. The most recent outbreak was in October last year which saw 50 elm trees in Whitford removed to contain the disease. Controls prohibit the movement of elm material in and out of the Auckland area between the Bombay Hills and Albany. Storage of elm wood is also prohibited under the Biosecurity Act 1993. Elms cannot be brought into Auckland nor sold at Auckland nurseries.

warm hugs from smokey Bear help in campaign to prevent forest fires in us IMAGINE dousing your campfire then getting a big hug from Smokey Bear, the iconic symbol of wildfire prevention for nearly 70 years. That’s the idea behind three videos in a new series of Smokey Bear public service advertisements released this month in the US, designed to raise awareness about wildfire prevention. The Smokey Bear campaign is the longest running public service advertising campaign in US history. The new ads will feature Smokey’s well-known tagline, ‘Only you can prevent wildfires’. The new twist is the bear hugs. “As he approaches his 70th

birthday, Smokey remains the country’s renowned and beloved ‘spokesbear’ for fire prevention,” US Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell said. “We are confident that these new campaigns using bear hugs will enlighten a whole new generation of Americans on the critical importance of preventing wildfires.” Wildfires remain one of the most critical environmental issues affecting Americans. Smokey Bear’s campaign has helped to reduce wildfires from 8.9 million ha annually to an average of 2.8 million ha today. Still, nine out of 10 wildfires nationwide are caused by people, so Smokey Bear’s work remains vitally

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that we all know and love, while continuing to empower Americans to act responsibly when recreating outdoors,” the president and CEO of the Ad Council Peggy Conlon said. “According to our latest research, nearly all Americans are aware of Smokey and his message, and they understand that they have a role to play, but many don’t know exactly what to do. Hug anyone? Smokey Bear gets on the forest fire prevention trail.

important. “These new campaigns celebrate the Smokey Bear

“These ads educate audiences about specific steps to properly safeguard against accidental fire and I believe they will be effective. After all, who doesn’t want a hug from Smokey Bear?”

issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 15


eVents

Forest study gains from $2000 scholarships presented by Mount Gambier Hoo-Hoo Club SCHOLARSHIP assistance cheques were presented to two Mount Gambier campus Southern Cross University forestry students by Mount Gambier Hoo-Hoo Club 214 at its annual dinner on July 8. Both were presented with cheques for $1000 by Club 214 secretary Lew Parsons. Tara-Lee Cottier, a first-year

student, was attracted to her goal of working in sustainable forestry and will use the money to ease financial pressures on her study, such as two residential placements at Lismore in New South Wales. Michael Hughes, a mature aged student in third year, is studying plant nutrition and apart from funding residential placements, will use some of the money on

Mount Gambier Club 214 secretary Lew Parsons (right) passing a scholarship cheque to Michael Hughes.

PAGE 16 | ISSUE 279 | 22.07.13

soil sampling equipment. These were the 16th and 17th scholarships presented over six years – a key annual project for the Mount Gambier Club Members, students and guests were also given an update on the SCU forestry course student numbers and opportunities for jobs and careers. Rod Sparkes, a local forester

Guest Speaker Rod Sparkes talks about the ‘computing cloud’.

Club 214 Gurdon Greg Richardson attacks the wallets of all attendees.

who had set up his own computing business, talked about the information challenges faced by industry and outlined the benefits and risks of ‘cloud computing’. It was a great night and the students and other guests received a good dose of HooHoo friendship and learnt the benefits of membership of a grand order. – BRIAN PAGE

SCU Student Tara-Lee Cottier is congratulated on receiving her scholarship cheque.

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On tHe rOAd

Holden’s intelligent VF evoke ute

Technology that practically sees around corners FOOTBALL, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars .. we didn’t see any ‘roos, but we looked the part eating pies on the way to the footie in the new VF Evoke ute. The fans – ute fans that is – clapped as we pulled the ‘big red’ into the Jimboomba rugby juniors club grounds with a cargo of furniture destined for a house shift after the game. As a drive, the VF Evoke is sound and even and one of the most intelligent utes on the market, high on technology that surpasses most passenger cars. The automatic park assist feature is supported by a rear view camera – standard on every new VF Ute, giving greater awareness of the vehicle’s surroundings. Then there’s Holden’s blind spot alert – no second guessing in lane changes. Radars

No pie in the sky .. Holden’s VF Evoke has performance and efficiency all round.

mounted to either side of the ute constantly monitor blind spots for approaching traffic. When an encroaching vehicle is detected a warning light glows on the corresponding side. The ute’s reverse traffic alert intuitively scans for adjacent approaching traffic when reversing from a car space. A clever trailer-sway control detects the onset of instability

in towing situations from conditions such as gusts of wind. The system intervenes by activating precise braking and reducing engine torque to bring the trailer back under control. Within the Holden’s utility range there’s impressive features like a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, clear audio, Bluetooth and great carrying and towing capability.

The VF ute comes as standard with the 210kW/350Nm 3.6-litre V6 which, at idle, with the doors shut and windows up, is virtually silent. It’s much more than a workhorse with a lavish interior that possibly impresses the most. The cloth seats are comfortable, and even more so with standard electric lumbar adjustment. Like the VE, there’s space behind the front seats, but with two cup holders on the centre console, spaces for bottles in the door bins and a good-sized glove box, there’s enough storage. The electric power steering is excellent. Holden set out to mimic the linear progressive feel of a hydraulic system and have produced one of the best electric power steering systems you’ll find on a sub-$50k car.

Kia rondo .. caring people-mover TRAVELLING with an elderly relative or parent can be a stressful event. But a little preparation can guarantee a safe and comfortable trip. With a major portion of Australia’s population reaching their senior years, more attention is being paid to the needs of the elderly and their care-givers – or is it car-givers? All the best intentions don’t help when you’re travelling with your mother or father or relative and worried about how to get from here to there safely. Then, along comes the Kia Rondo, which must be the ultimate senior people-mover with lots of cabin space and comfort. The all-new Rondo enhances Kia’s presence in this segment that, in Europe, is one of the most important and competitive car categories. In Australia, it gives a viable and attractive option to those who crave for

Kia Rondo .. greater feeling of interior comfort.

extra seating but don’t want to drive an SUV. This new Rondo is 20 mm shorter, 15 mm narrower and 40 mm lower than its predecessor. But the design platform has changed to create a greater feeling of interior space. A well forward-seating position gives a commanding view of the

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road. High shine black plastics and splashes of chrome are a smart combination in a well-planned centre console and dash. The leather seats are comfortable and offer 10-way power adjustability. A tall roofline ensures optimum head-room across all rows.

Technology is up there with the best. The SLi includes Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and telephony, 4.3-in. touch screen, six speakers, cruise control, paddle shifts, auto up/down for all four windows, four 12 volt power outlets, auto electric fold and heated wing mirrors and a reversing camera. Low effort steering and manoeuvrability makes the Rondo perfect for inner city driving. The SLi model, powered by a 122kW 2 litre GDI petrol engine, claims fuel economy at 7.9 litres/100km. Rondo fills the bill if you’re after a seven-seater but still want a hatch-sized vehicle. Talking about the bill – the new Si petrol model kicks-off the range at $29,990 plus on road costs.

issue 279 | 22.07.13 | Page 17


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