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ISSUE 316 | 5.5.14 Delivered weekly to timber merchants, sawmillers, wood processors, foresters, members of national, state and trade organizations and associations throughout Australia, New Zealand and various countries.

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Cheap housing a ticking time bomb

Buildings left to ‘be eaten away’ as The mining sector downturn takes hold NATIONAL

THOUSANDS of houses built in a hurry across central Queensland and sold to private investors in schemes that promised high rental returns off the back of the mining boom have been labelled ‘ticking time bombs’ that would fail all structural codes for safety and termite protection. “This festering sore on the region’s residential building industry is about to open,” says David Punter of Racey Constructions, a builder with 30 years’ experience in the business.

Turnaround .. home prices in isolated mining towns are falling as companies lay off workers amid a slowing resources boom.

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Mr Punter said the “whole shocking truth of a five-year construction nightmare” was exposed fully at a gathering of builders, joiners, roofers and real estate agents in Rockhampton last Thursday (May 1). The meeting heard that up to 4000 houses built across central Queensland from Gladstone to Townsville and as far west as Emerald would fail building codes and structural tests for wind bracing and roof battens.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

New owner of Gunns’ assets commits to woodchip exports Hopes fade on future of Tamar pulp mill

WOODCHIP exports out of Tasmania are set for a kickalong following the sale of Gunns’ timber plantations to Sydney-based investment company New Forests. The forest investment manager has bought 176,000 ha of freehold land, including 100,000 ha of timber plantations owned by Gunns which collapsed in 2012 when banks refused further funding. New Forests has also bought chip mills at Hampshire in the northwest and Longreach, on the Tamar River. The company already owns softwood plantations in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. Speaking from San Francisco, CEO David Brand told the ABC the aim is to ramp up woodchip exports and then possibly look at processing the wood domestically.

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Big markets .. new owner of Gunns’ assets aims to ramp up woodchip exports and possibly process the wood domestically.

‘We’ll harvest trees, woodchip them and send them to Japan’

David Brand .. woodchip markets are quite strong at the moment.

“We’ll harvest trees, woodchip them and send them to Japan, China and potentially India,” he said. “Those markets are quite strong at the moment and then, over time, we’ll look at diversifying, seeing whether there’s other options in terms of developing processing within Tasmania.” The price of woodchips has rebounded to $170 per dry tonne after a low two years ago of $145. Mr Brand expects the price to continue to rise, predicting the woodchip market will expand by 25% in the next two years. He says a new pulp mill has been built in China and India has started importing woodchips.

New Forests has not bought the building permits for the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill and Mr Brand is sceptical anyone will. “We’ve seen no evidence that there’s anyone progressing with the pulp mill.” The company has not disclosed the price, but the ABC understands it paid $330 million for Gunns’ assets. Gunns’ 32 staff will continue to be employed by a new management company, which will be set up after the sale is completed in June. The sale also secures the jobs of 150 harvesting and haulage contractors. New Forests manages more than $2.3 billion in funds and assets for institutional investors in timberland and associated

environmental markets, such as carbon, water and biodiversity. Meanwhile, talks continue with potential pulp mill buyers. Gunns’ receiver KordaMentha is still hopeful a buyer can be found for the pulp mill permits. Spokesman Michael Smith says several parties expressed interest in the pulp mill site and permits on a ‘stand-alone basis’ and confidential negotiations will continue. State parliament was recalled before the March election in an effort to make the permits more attractive to investors. Seven companies from Australia, the UK, the US and Asia made up the list of final bidders for Gunns’ assets. The Tasmanian Premier and Opposition leader want to meet New Forests to discuss the future of timber processing in the state. Resources Minister Paul Harris welcomes the sale, but admits he would like to see more value added to Tasmanian timber. “There can be, and there are better processes, we will drive that, we will work towards that,” he said. Opposition leader Bryan Green disagrees that a pulp mill may never be built. Cont P 7


INDUSTRY NEWS

‘If we get a cyclone or a storm surge they will blow away like matchboxes’ From P 1

“Added to these catastrophic defects is the fact that most, if not all, of the pine timber frames have not been treated against termites, termites like that giant jaw-snapping bugger from up north [Mastotermes darwiniensis],” Mr Punter said. “Many houses are already infested and they’ll be digested in less than two years.” A basic house in the boom towns of central Queensland was renting for $1800 to $2000 a week – seemingly a very attractive return for an independent retiree with money to invest. At the Morenbah coal fields, rentals skyrocketed from $1500 and went up to $3000 a week.

But the boom is over and the workers depart “But the boom is over, the workers have gone, and thousands of houses are empty,” Dave Punter said. “Left to be eaten away or blown away in a storm.” The downturn in the mining sector, especially in Queensland, started to show up in the property industry last year, with large drops in house sales and big rises in vacancy rates in the final quarter. Figures from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland show that while median house prices in towns close to coal mines or a base for drive-in, driveout miners rose over 2012, they started dropping off dramatically in the final quarter as mine closures in central Queensland in particular meant that demand for housing quickly fell away. Prices in mining regions could fall as much as 30% from a first-quarter peak, real estate data company SQM Research

these houses had a physical inspection for compliance. “Any audits were not full audits, they were just tie-down audits.”

‘We have integrity, we want to protect our reputation’

Last truck out .. the mining boom is over, workers have left and houses are empty.

forecasts. About $150 billion of mining and energy projects have been cancelled in the past year as commodity prices declined, according to government figures. Real estate agents report house devaluations up to 40% in the gas-stream town of Gladstone. In Rockhampton it’s 35%, heading to 40%. “And its chiefly because of the sheer volume of this rubbish, Mr Punter said. “We gave warnings ages ago. These houses started to go up across the region five years ago, some two years ago, and, unbelievably, some are still being built. “And where were the building police? Mr Punter asked. “I can tell you that they brought in hundreds of ‘wallaby’ builders from the south and wouldn’t employ an apprentice. “Ninety percent of carpentry apprentices in central Queensland are on the couch at home.” “And get this – the southerners came in an applied for builders’ licences and got them. They brought their own engineers and private certifiers who sat in their office and used neddies with mobile phone

cameras to walk around the houses. What the certifiers saw on the cameras was sufficient for them to tick a building approval sheet. “We know that few, if any, of

Mr Punter added: “We have integrity up here and we want to protect our reputation as good builders who use compliant products and treat our timber with preservatives that give 25year guarantees.” Mr Punter said the industry should pray there won’t be a cyclone across this region. “If we get a storm surge and heavy winds, these houses will blow away like matchboxes,” he said.

ISSUE 316 | PAGE 3


INDUSTRY NEWS

Major revision of technical guides for timber design

Promoting timber products and light weight construction to Architects, Designers and the Building Industry in Western Australia. Expos ■ Information Seminars ■ Product Launches ■ Architect Supplier Presentations ■ Recruitment ■ Training ■

PEAK industry body Timber Queensland has completed a major revision of more than 30 technical data sheets which provide timber-related advice developed in Queensland for Queensland application – information you can’t obtain elsewhere. CEO Rod McInnes said data sheets provided expert, straight-forward and accurate advice making the selection, specification, and use of timber products much easier. “These are the ‘go-to’ documents for architects, building designers, engineers, certifiers, builders and handymen who need timber related advice,” Mr McInnes said. “They’re also all referenced by building authorities and Australia’s leading timber processors, fabricators and manufacturers. These are highly respected and soughtafter publications,” he said. “The review, undertaken by respected timber engineer and Timber Queensland’s timber application and use manager Colin MacKenzie, ensures the technical data sheets reflect Australian standards, state and national building codes and current best practice.” Topics include residential timber decks and fences; timber floors and recommended

Peter Latemore .. TQ technical data sheets have become default industry standard documents.

installation practices; finishes for exterior timber; and protecting buildings from subterranean termites. Queensland building professionals have also thrown their support behind the revision and use of the data sheets. Commenting on the revisions, Peter Latemore, principal of Latemore Design, said: “We regularly use and recommend the excellent data sheets. They have become default industry standard documents, which many of us depend upon. I regularly tell others about them, especially builders and engineers, as they represent the best knowledge available to our industry.” Copies of the technical data sheets are available at Timber Queensland’s website: www. timberqueensland.com.au

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DISTRIBUTION of the weekly Timber&Forestry enews continues to broaden – to all sectors of industry, builders, specifiers, engineers, selected architects – and the allimportant timber merchant. The on-line magazine is delivered to more than 6500 wholesale and retail merchants and processors in all states and in New Zealand.

In a sponsorship arrangement, T&F enews is distributed to all TABMA Australia members. Also, the Australian Forest Contractors Association is sending out the magazine to members across all states. The magazine can be read anywhere any time – as it is among readers in the AsiaPacific, the US and Canada and the UK.


INDUSTRY NEWS

2014 AROUND THE CIRCUIT MAY 2014 19: Frame Australia 2014 conference and exhibition. In conjunction with the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia. Venue: Park Hyatt Melbourne. The conference theme is pre-fabricated timber and wood products in residential and commercial construction, including trends to using timber panels for buildings up to 5 and 10 storeys high. International speakers will provide global updates on equipment technologies and construction trends for timber frame and truss and wood panel systems in building. The exhibition display comprises 23 exhibitors from Europe, North America and Australia. For more information visit www.frameaustralia.com

JUNE 11-12: Wood Flow Logistics 2014 – Rotorua, NZ. 17-18: Melbourne (www.woodflowlogistics.com). This series will add a number of components from the steep slope wood harvesting event and will provide a practical update on innovations, strategies and technologies used by leading forest products companies to improve their planning, logistics and operations within the wood supply chain – from forest through to market.

AUGUST 2014 5-6: MobileTECH 2014: Primary Industries Future. Brisbane. 12-13: Auckland, NZ (www.mobiletech2014.com).

These events will profile the latest mobile tools, technologies and innovations driving the future of primary industries (farming, horticulture, forestry, dairy, meat, wool, fisheries and mining). MobileTECH 2014 will showcase a wide range of mobile technologies and innovations, including smartphones, tablets, mobile apps, satellite mapping and communications, robotics, aerial drones, remote sensors, electronic tagging, intelligent data, M2M, real-time analytics and cloud-based platforms. 6-9: AWISA 2014 exhibition. Brisbane Convention and exhibition Centre. Displays of panel processing, solid wood and timber machinery, tooling, manufacturing software, plus ancillary products such as dust extraction and materials handling equipment. Opportunity forn the cabinet, kitchen, furniture, joinery, timber, fit-out and panel industries to inspect new equipment. Inquiries about booking space: email info@awisa.com or call Geoff Holland. Tel: (02) 9918 3661. Fax: (02) 9918 7764. Mob: 0412 361 580. Email: info@awisa.com 7-8: DANA conference, Melbourne. The Australian forestry and forest products sector: its situation in 2014 and trends going forward. Bayview Eden Hotel, Melbourne. Speakers: Gavin Hoe, RISI China; Oliver Lansdell, global pulp specialist; Rodrigo Monreal, solid wood products chief of Arauco, Chile;

Matthew Wood, CEO Stora Enso Australia; Russ Taylor, president of WOODMarkets; Peter Barynin, lead economist with Boston USA- based RISI; Peter Zed (Australian sawmilling sector); Simon Dories, general manager, Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia; Ross Hampton, CEO, Forest and Wood Products Australia; Steve Whitley, CEO, Forestry Tasmania. Conference includes panel of overseas plantation investors. Contact Pamela Richards at pam@prcc. com.au or visit www.dana.co.nz

11-12: DANA conference, Rotorua, NZ. The New Zealand forestry and forest products sector: its situation in 2014 and trends going forward. Novotel Rotorua Hotel, Rotorua. Web: www.prcc.com.au/ danamelbourne2014. Conference consultant: Pam Richards 61 3 5781 0069. Email: pam@prcc.com.au

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17-18: Wood Innovations 2014: Timber Preservation – Wood Modification – Composite Products – Rotorua, NZ. 23-24: Melbourne. (www.woodinnovations2014. com). Changes in new wood treatment formulations, processes and systems, standards, legislation with the focus also on wood plastic composites and modified wood products.

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19-20: ForestTECH 2014. Rotorua, NZ. 25-26: Melbourne. (www. foresttech2014.com). Remote sensing, field Inventory, forest estate planning.

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ISSUE 316 | PAGE 5


INDUSTRY NEWS

Forestry students to gain from $6000 donation to Mt Gambier industry club Norton Ladkin award recognises celebrated timber pioneer

A $6000 grant to support forestry students has been awarded to Mount Gambier Timber Industry Club 214 through a fund that recognises the services of an industry pioneer. The club, a part of Hoo-Hoo International, will draw $2000 a year over three years from the Norton Ladkin Memorial Fund.

Scholarship presentation on June 16 The funding was approved at the recent JIV Hoo-Hoo Convention in Coffs Harbour and supported by Mount Gambier delegates Maurie and Kathy Drewer, Graham and Val Fennell,

Lew and Robyn Parsons, David and Jan Didwell and Colin and Raylee Moreland. Club president Maurie Drewer said the funding would help support forestry students at the Mount Gambier Campus of Southern Cross University. This will enable us to continue many years of this valuable annual support,” Mr Drewer said. “We are proud to continue recognition of Norton Ladkin who was a giant of the Australian timber industry.” The Norton Ladkin Memorial Award recognises the first chief executive of the Radiata Pine Association in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr Ladkin was an associate of the Institute

Maurie Drewer .. continuing many years of valuable support.

of Wood Science and a foundation member of the Australian branch. He was also an associate member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia. Mr Ladkin, who was well

known to the Mount Gambier timber industry and visited the region many times, was the inaugural president (in 1970) of Jurisdiction 1V Hoo-Hoo International. The club will holds a scholarship presentation dinner on June 16 at Mount Gambier’s Southgate Motel, which will feature a VIP guest speaker from industry and an update on the Southern Cross University’s forestry course. The dinner meeting will be open to the timber and forest industries, parents of students, local officials and the interested general public. Details are available from the cub or from Maurie Drewer on (08) 8725 4441 or mobile 0408 394 296.

Plantations ‘dodged bullet’ as Ita hit northern coast FOREST plantations in north Queensland ‘dodged a bullet’ when Cyclone Ita hit landfall near Cooktown on April 11, tearing apart buildings, uprooting trees and destroying banana crops. HQ Plantations reports plantations at Kuranda came through the storm blow unscathed. Minor flooding

PAGE 6 | ISSUE 316

affected some forest transport operations. Although the state’s cyclone season ended on April 30, forecasters are warning there is still chance of more severe storms. Cyclone Ita was the most damaging of the four cyclones detected in the eastern region this wet season. It was

expected to cross the coast as a category five storm, potentially causing widespread destruction, but quickly weakened, remaining a tropical cyclone for several days as it tracked south and hugged almost 1000 km of coastline. While there was no loss of life or serious injury, Ita flattened cane fields, ruined banana

crops, cut the state’s main highway and left a mammoth clean-up task in her wake. Canegrowers as far south as Proserpine were among the hardest hit with an estimated 90% of Australia’s sugar cane crop destroyed. The preliminary damage bill has been estimated at $1 billion.


INDUSTRY NEWS

Change to fuel rebate must be ruled out

Forest, farm leaders protest at proposed cuts to scheme THE Australian Forest Products Association has called on the federal government to immediately rule out any change to the diesel fuel rebate in the May budget. Some media reports suggest that one option being considered by the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet is a reduction in the diesel fuel rebate for medium and large businesses. AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said the diesel fuel tax (excise) was introduced primarily to help support public road infrastructure, and was designed to recognise that many diesel users operate offroad machinery. These off-road operations included the harvesting, transport and management of commercial forests across the country. “Even log trucks spend most

of their time operating on roads built and maintained by forestry organisations – they are not public roads and receive no public funding,” Mr Hampton said. “The forest products industry is overwhelmingly a ruralbased industry and many of the townships scattered across Australia rely heavily on rural primary producers and the forest products industry. ‘A negative change to the rebate arrangements would flow from those businesses into those country towns.” AFPA joins the growing

Wrong turn .. changes to diesel fuel rebate will hurt forest industry.

number of agricultural and farmer-based organisations opposed to any change in the diesel fuel rebate. National Farmers’ Federation president Brent Finlay said rural industry had voiced serious concerns about speculation of proposed cuts to the current rebate farmers can claim for off-road use of fuel. “Cuts to the rebate would not only be detrimental to agriculture’s contributions to the economy, but would further exacerbate the inequity in cost for those living and working in regional Australia,” he said.

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Demand for pulp going to continue From P 2

“There will be demand for pulp on into the future, that’s been forecast, there will be other mills built around the world, we just hope it’s built in Tasmania,” he said. Tasmanian Greens leader Kim Booth is pleased New Forests has not bought the pulp mill permits. “I think for Tasmanians that’ll be a good thing because I understand they’re not interested at all in a toxic pulp mill proposal,” he said. Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne is not surprised the permits remain unsold. “The reality is the market knows it is valueless,” she said. “There is no social licence for a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, it is toxic, it always was toxic and so now we’ve got a reality check which is the value was only in the plantation estate.”

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ISSUE 316 | PAGE 7


INDUSTRY NEWS

New resources under development a big tick for industry sustainability

IFA partners with ForestWorks to tap IP on forests THE Institute of Foresters of Australia has partnered with ForestWorks ISC to produce a range of learning and assessment resources for the Advanced Diploma of Forest Industry Sustainability. “We are seeking to capture the intellectual capital that resides in the industry,” IFA CEO Alison Carmichael said. “I believe IFA members collectively hold Australia’s definitive IP about forests and forestry.

Team to develop seven resources by end of June “This project provides an excellent opportunity to tap this

Zoe Ryan .. upgrading skills in carbon management.

resource to share the knowledge and skills with others.” ForestWorks CEO Michael Hartman said this initiative would bolster the learning potential of a qualification that can be used by industry to develop its capacity for sustainable development and to demonstrate how qualified the industry is on sustainability issues.

Alison Carmichael .. capturing intellectual capital.

forest carbon in a way that can be used by learners, and also by anyone wanting to upgrade their skills in carbon measurement in a forestry context,” Ms Ryan said. The Advanced Diploma will also contribute to filling a gap in the delivery of forestry education at a tertiary level. “This qualification will be very popular with current industry participants looking to undertake further study, or to prepare for a move into executive positions,” Alison Carmichael said “It will also be useful for those seeking to understand forestry prior to commencing an undergraduate degree. “The focus on sustainability means units can be used as continuing professional development for those seeking to better understand what sustainability is, and how it fits into a forestry business. “The tools, checklists, and procedures that make up the learning activities may be able to be used in forestry workplaces to support change.”

Content will be reviewed, signed off by industry

Michael Hartman .. bolsters learning potential.

IFA has established a writing team to develop seven resources by June 30 this year. One of the first units will be about carbon stock sampling of forests and plantations. Lead writer is IFA member Zoe Ryan, an expert in forest carbon inventory and REDD+. “This is a great opportunity to bring together what I know about

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The IFA writing team will be consulting widely with industry throughout the writing period. The content, activities and tools will be written for the sector and will be reviewed, and signed off, by industry personnel. This project has been funded by ForestWorks with support from the federal government Department of Industry. Contact ACO Alison Carmichael on 0141 287 079 or email alison.carmichael@ forestry.org.au Visit website: www.forestry. org.au


INDUSTRY NEWS

Flexibility needed on government’s emissions stance

Questions unanswered: AFPA INDUSTRY has cautiously welcomed the Abbott government’s Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper, but the AFPA says key questions for forest industries remain to be answered if they are to fulfil their true potential in a carbon constrained economy. AFPA CEO Ross Hampton says the government has a clear mandate to remove the carbon tax and replace it with the Direct Action Scheme. “The Emissions Reduction Fund will reduce Australia’s carbon footprint in line with our international undertakings,” Mr Hampton said.

Clear mandate to remove the carbon tax “Some AFPA members are captured within the 130 largest emitters and it is vital that the baseline setting of previous emission intensities is fair to these operators.” AFPA continues to argue that the government should consider flexibility on contract terms to take into account the unique characteristics of slow-growing forestry and plantation projects. “The government is to be applauded for expanding and broadening the membership of the domestic offsets integrity committee which approves the methodologies for carbon reducing activities,” Mr Hampton said. “In the past, Australian policy makers have received guidance

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 1 000 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

Ross Hampton .. cautious welcome to white paper.

which drove methodologies toward locking away trees and reaping short-term, fleeting carbon benefits. This was despite groups as diverse as the Climate Institute, Yale University, University of Washington and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agreeing that in the longer term the greatest mitigation would come from rotational forestry and the storing of carbon in the likes of house frames and furniture.” Another positive, says Mr Hampton, is the absolute commitment by the Abbott government to refuse to support any carbon reduction project which could have an adverse ‘social, environmental or economic impact’. “Any proposed action to reduce sustainable forest harvesting will not only lead to a perverse carbon outcome by removing less carbon over the longer term, it will lead to negative social and economic impacts for Australia through reduced jobs.”

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ISSUE 316 | PAGE 9


INDUSTRY NEWS

New Zealand safety review must find answers to forest tragedies

Unions push for stricter regulation of work practices NEW Zealand forest owners and contractors have praised the Combined Trade Unions for making health and safety the focus of this year’s Workers’ Memorial Day. “The loss of forest workers through death and injury is a tragedy for everyone involved, most particularly for the victims, their families, friends and workmates,” Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls said. “No job is worth dying for, so it is important that we look for any lessons that can be learned from these tragedies,” he said. “This is the role of the Independent Safety Review and the Coroners Court hearings now under way. They need to go beneath the emotion and

That is why we are having a review. “Forest owners, contractors and the CTU have all agreed on the terms of reference and membership of the review,” Mr Kajavala said. “It’s now up to all of us to provide the review with solid evidence, so it can make robust recommendations.

Concerns over forest safety .. time for everyone to take a hard look at the evidence on forest accidents.

the loss and take a hard look at the evidence to find out where the industry and individuals are going wrong .. to find out how we can all do things better.” Mr Nicholls said the CTU was strongly advocating solutions to the accident toll, including

Paul Nicholls .. no job is worth dying for.

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stricter regulation of work practices. Jacob Kajavala, president of the Forest Industry Contractors Association, says forest owners and contractors also have views on what is needed, but this was not the time for the industry or the CTU to be arguing preferred policies in the public domain.

This is not the time for industry and unions to argue “If the CTU has strong evidence to support the policies they are advocating, we urge them to present it to the review. If there is evidence that accidents are occurring because workers are over-worked, under-paid and exhausted, as the CTU claims, this also belongs with the review.” Paul Nicholls said the Forest Owners Association was not sitting on its hands waiting for the review and the Coroners Court to present their findings. “Programs currently being developed or under way include tree-falling and breaking-out certification, safety culture workshops, contractor certification and small business guides,” he said. “ACC and MBIE support is needed to get these off the ground – support which now appears to be forthcoming.”

Overseas buyers eye Southern Cross FINANCIALY stricken New Zealand wood processor Southern Cross Forest Products has attracted local and international interest from potential buyers, and its receiver hopes to progress the sale next month. KordaMentha has announced plans to shut the Dunedinbased company’s Rosebank

sawmill after a fire at its Mosgiel remanufacturing site cut its drying capacity, reducing the volume of timber it can process. It also decided to wind down its unprofitable Australian distribution business. Demand has been tempered by the strong Kiwi dollar and high log prices are a challenge for the export-focused business.


ENGINEERED WOOD

US housing recovery to drive growth for engineered wood

APA marketing chief to speak at Melbourne dinner RECOVERY of the US housing market is expected to drive growth in demand for engineered wood products by 30 to 45% over the next four years. Despite adverse weather conditions across much of the country that hampered the forward momentum of the US economy in early 2014, the APA Engineered Wood Association predicts that gradual, stable growth lies ahead in wood product sectors. The US housing outlook and its relation to steady growth in the production of EWPs will be outlined by APA’s director of international marketing Charles Barnes at an industry dinner in Melbourne on May 19, following FRAME Australia 2014.

The dinner at the Park Hyatt Hotel will be hosted by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, which has been involved with the staging of the FRAME conference.

Stable growth lies ahead for wood products Demand for structural panels in residential construction in North America is expected to rise 11% in 2014, while growth in the other end-uses is projected to be 2.5%. North American production of OSB and plywood is expected to hit 32.2 billion sq ft in 2014, an increase of nearly 8% over

Charles Barnes .. guest speaker at EWPAA dinner.

2013. In 2014, I-joist production is expected to increase to 682 million linear feet. With steady increases in housing starts in the US, production is projected to reach 913 million linear feet

by 2018. LVL demand will also benefit from sustained improvement in housing starts. LVL production in 2014 is forecast to reach 62.7 million cub ft. By 2018, output is projected to grow by 46% to 83 million cub ft. Real GDP in the US is forecast to average 2.5% a year through to 2018. This should drive up employment rates, especially among younger workers, and in turn increase household growth. Likewise, Canada’s economy is forecast to enjoy steady growth. “Most of the market volatility caused by the housing bubble’s collapse is behind us,” says Joe Elling, APA’s market research director. Cont P 12

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ISSUE 316 | PAGE 11


ENGINEERED WOOD

‘Most of the market volatility caused by housing bubble’s collapse is behind us’ 2014, returning output to peak levels seen in 2007. Looking forward, growth should average 3.7% yearly through 2018, as capacity utilisation increases to levels not achieved since 1999.

From P 11

“The demand for new housing units should improve over the next 3-5 years,” he said. “Recent statements by Federal Reserve policy makers are a positive sign that they recognise continued recovery in the housing industry as an imperative to faster economic growth.” Signals in the remodelling market are mixed. While it was strong throughout 2013, other measures indicate stagnation. Existing home sales, a typical indicator of the direction of the remodelling market, are expected to trend downward slightly this year and then pick up in 2015. Ultimately, APA expects repair and remodelling expenditures to grow an average of 2% annually through 2018. Non-residential construction

Plywood imports, notably from Chile, likely to increase US housing recovery .. gradual, stable growth lies ahead for engineered wood.

in the US continues to lag, falling 5.5% in 2013. Education construction is down from its high in 2008, but is expected to stabilise in 2014–2015, as the outlook for government budgets has improved. Health care facility construction has fallen due to several factors, including a decline in births since 2007 and

the trend toward consolidation in health care. At the same time, commercial construction, primarily retail, is expected to grow commensurate with residential building. By 2018, non-residential construction is predicted to be up 17% from 2013 levels. Manufacturing production is likely to continue to increase in

Due to rising domestic demand for North American plywood, APA anticipates that plywood imports, notably from Chile, will increase through 2018. Imports will account for 4% of North American plywood consumption in 2014. OSB exports were up 40 million sq ft in 2013; demand for North American OSB remains strong globally, and exports are expected to increase further in 2014 and beyond.

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PAGE 12 | ISSUE 316

Frame Australia 2014 is being organised in conjunction with the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia


INDUSTRY NEWS

Replanting a major concern for NZ forest industry as log exports jump As investors retire, who’s going to grow the trees?

SECTIONS of industry in New Zealand fear the lack of replanting threatens the industry’s future, even though log exports have nearly doubled in the past year. New Zealand last year exported $5 billion of forestry products, $500 million more than in 2012, largely fuelled by insatiable demand from China’s construction boom. Forestry continues to be New Zealand’s third-largest goods export after dairy and meat. There are questions about who will buy into replanting future forests as existing investors nearing retirement look to harvest trees and cash in on investments made in the early 1990s.

Investors have no incentive to replant land In a Fairfax News report, plantation company Ernslaw One’s environment manager Peter Weir said about 40% of the new harvest belonged to investment syndicates which would be looking to harvest

Peter Weir .. syndicates looking to harvest.

Peter Clark .. no new plantings taking place.

leading up to 2020. “They invested for their retirement and they have no strong incentive to replant that land,” Mr Weir said. After harvest by investors about half a million hectares of land could be on the market. New Zealand is one of the world’s top three log exporters and is becoming increasingly favoured as a supplier as more North American logs go towards its own construction growth and Russia struggles with aging infrastructure and

new excise tax regulations. Latest figures from Statistics New Zealand show that the value of NZ log exports went from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $2.4 billion in 2013, accounting for 42% of forest product exports by value, compared with just 3% in 1993. This is largely due to an upsurge in log exports to China increasing in value from $1 billion in 2012 to $1.7 billion in 2013. In 2013, 11% of New Zealand’s total exports came from forestry products and 5% from logs alone.

China imports New Zealand logs because it is much cheaper to process timber at its own mills than in New Zealand. The lumber is then used primarily for boxing during the concrete build phase of China’s infrastructure and high rise construction. In terms of log volumes, New Zealand exported 16.6 million cub of logs in 2013, which was 2.8 million cub m more than in 2012. In the early 1990s, annual new forest planting in New Zealand peaked at nearly 100,000 ha, but in 2011 that figure was less than 20,000 ha. Forestry services company PF Olsen chief executive Peter Clark said there was virtually no new planting currently taking place.

Half a million ha could be on the market “The reality is that these blocks are not being replanted after harvest, which suggests that they won’t be replanted in the future because you get weed regrowth.”

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ISSUE 316 | PAGE 13


INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

Canadian province invests $2.25m in fresh wood cellulose technology Immediate application to pulp and paper industry

THE Canadian province of British Columbia is joining forces with a leading-edge research institute to help advance a biofriendly technology that will expand the market for wood fibre and help secure jobs in the forest industry. The Minister of Forests Steve Thomson said the province would provide $2.25 million to FPInnovations to help research and develop cellulose filament technology. Specifically, the funding will support Vancouverbased research on cellulose filament and its applications for the province’s wood pulp sector. Cellulose filament, known as CF in the industry, is a flexible, wood-fibre-based additive that can be readily mixed with other materials to improve the quality of a range of products.

Program helping to diversify BC forest industries CF has immediate applications to the province’s pulp and paper industry where it could be used in stronger and less-expensive products like newsprint, packaging, tissues

Keen investors in forest future.. Jean Hamel, vice-president, FPInnovations, Pulp, Paper and Bioproducts, Andrew Wilkinson, BC Minister of Technology and Innovation, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, and Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO, FPInnovations.

and paper towels. Eventually, CF could be used in a range of products, from flexible plastic packaging to photographic film to structural and non-structural panels in building construction. FPInnovations is a research organisation that specialises in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness. “Supporting the national CF research program will help diversify British Columbia’s forest sector and build our bioeconomy, especially in areas like the design and manufacture of innovative coatings, packaging

and engineered components,” Steve Thomson said. “Building this kind of flexibility into our forest economy will help retain jobs for years to come.” President and CEO, FPInnovations Pierre Lapointe said the province’s targeted investment in research and development would positively impact traditional markets for wood fibre while leading to the development of innovative new products. “Cellulose filaments are set to become a key element in the transformation of the Canadian

pulp and paper industry enabling the industry to gain a foot-hold in non-traditional markets, while building on existing manufacturing capacity in forest-dependent communities across Canada,” Mr Lapointe said. The CF investment is in line with the British Columbia Jobs Plan and supports the provincial forest sector strategy of expanding markets by developing innovative ways of using wood and wood fibre.

Positive impact on traditional fibre markets CF is fully recyclable, environmentally friendly and compatible with water-based products like wood pulps. FPInnovations estimates that the North American annual demand for CF could soon exceed 250,000 tonnes, as markets for the additive expand. The funding is part of a national $43.1 million CF research and development project supported by the federal government, British Columbia, Quebec and industry.

US housing starts to remain on upward path THE US National Association of Home Builders is confident housing will stay on an upward path through 2015 as the economy keeps growing, mortgage rates stay competitive and home prices remain affordable. Fuelled by an improving economy and pent-up demand, NAHB projects that singlefamily housing production will increase 22% from 621,000 last year to 760,000 in 2014 and surge an additional 55% to 1.18

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million units in 2015. In addition, NAHB says, production of multifamily units is expected to rise 8% from 308,000 in 2013 to 331,000 this year, reaching what is considered a normal level of production. Several obstacles including constricted consumer credit, lack of lots and labour and growing materials prices which are hampering a more robust recovery. Mortgage interest rates are anticipated to increase to 5%

by the end of 2014 and 6% by the end of next year, according to NAHB chief economist David Crowe. He noted that because interest rates are still low by historical standards, the projected increases should “not be a significant deterrent to expansion in the housing market”. New-home sales are averaging 8.8% of total home sales, barely half the historical average of 16.1%.

“Supply constraints related to lots and labour and rising lumber, gypsum and OSB prices are hurting the ability of builders to meet demand,” Crowe said. “Moreover, credit-worthy borrowers, particularly younger families and first-time home buyers, are having difficulties in getting home loans.” NAHB also is projecting that residential remodelling will post a 3.8% increase in 2014 over last year and rise an additional 2.4% in 2015.


INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

US star’s love of timber gives industry dream promotion run TV reality show to feature wood in home design

WHEN Emmy Award-winning US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres ‘came out of the closet’ and made TV history in 1997 the closet must have been made of wood. In a dream promotion run for the timber industry, she is producing a six-episode reality show with six contestants, each with the task of creating their own furniture and fittings using wood. The host of this year’s Oscars is expected to attract an audience of nine million views per episode in the US alone, with the home design show expected to be released globally. Contestants will be asked to create their own internal home design in 24 hours with the help of carpenters. A six-part online companion series will also be made. Talking about the show – ‘Ellen’s Design Challenge’ – DeGeneres said she was excited about the program which would search for special ideas in timber design.

Extremely fond of timber design in architecture The show will reportedly highlight DeGeneres’ passion for furniture. But interior decoration is not the only aspect the talk show host is enthusiastic about. She is extremely fond of timber in architecture and real estate on the whole. Indeed, DeGeneres maintains a lush property portfolio. Her recent home splurge was the Brody House, one of the most distinguished and architecturally significant homes of Los Angeles. It was commissioned by famous

Ellen DeGeneres (inset) chose timber to renovate her mountain escape ranch-style home in the Santa Monica Mountains. The star’s ‘art barn’ (main picture) features timber beams, panelling and flooring.

philanthropists Sydney and Francis Lasker Brody in 1947. The home is a result of expertise and hard work put in by star architect A. Quincy Jones, landscape architect Garett Eckbo and interior designer Billy Haines. Plus, it sits right next to the Playboy Mansion. “The light quality is incredible. Even in the hallways,” DeGeneres said. “Jones put in skylights so there are no dark

rooms. We feel like custodians to an important piece of architecture.” DeGeneres also has a mountain escape home in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains which she bought in 2009 with actress and wife Portia de Rossi. The large ranch-style home has multiple timber structures, including eight individual cabins and horse stables. Located in an area known as Hidden

Hollywood star Tom Hanks and talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres dance on a timber floor during an episode of the Ellen DeGeneres show.

Valley, the 10 ha property was originally the estate of 1920’s actor William Powell. American sustainable and certified hardwood timber flooring is featured in the regular daily Ellen DeGeneres Show, produced on Stage 1 at Warner Bros Studios at Burbank, California. Talking about the program, which is set to premiere in 2015, DeGeneres said: “I’m so excited about the home design show because I love finding really special pieces of furniture.” The show will be produced by HGTV (an initialism for Home & Garden Television), an American basic cable and satellite TV channel. HGTV broadcasts a variety of ‘howto’ shows with a focus on home improvement and remodelling.

Ranch-style home features multiple timber structures The executives at HGTV say they are thrilled to collaborate with DeGeneres. “There has been a lot of dancing in our halls since we shared the news that we will be collaborating with Ellen,” Kathleen Finch, president of HGTV and DIY Network told the Hollywood Reporter. “When she talked to us about her love of buying and renovating homes, her personal passion for the creative process of furniture design emerged as something that she wanted to explore more. “Since HGTV is the ultimate forum in this space, and since no other network can deliver an audience who is as enthusiastic as she is about the creative process, we just had to make it happen.”

ISSUE 316 | PAGE 15


ON THE ROAD

Dream run in Captiva as Holden packs in safety and lot of extras

Fussy SUV buyers get a richer list of equipment FOUR well-fed adults and a diminutive tot, aged 7, headed for Dreamworld to do lunch with the tigers. Comfortable travel along the Gold Coast Highway was compliments of Holden and the new seven-seat Captiva SL. I haven’t been to the theme park – “home to 13 worlds” – since the early 1970s, when just a few buildings were sprouting up on the site. Then owner entrepreneur John Longhurst introduced me to his dream, driving me around to look at the first completed buildings – all timber and with treated roof shingles. In the late 1970s, Longhurst was joined by Sydney furniture salesman Ken Lord. The additional funding provided by Lord allowed Longhurst, now in his 80s, to embrace his peerdescribed characteristic of being a perfectionist.

Captiva cabin gets top marks for design This characteristic was on display when he employed some of the designers responsible for Disneyland and Walk Disney World. Timber was everywhere in abundance, and it made a good front cover story for Timberrman. Dreamword certainly captures the imagination – and so does Captiva. Holden has strengthened its popular Captiva SUV range by adding a top-spec Captiva 5 LTZ and a new generation six-speed automatic transmission across both Captiva 5 and seven-seat Captiva 7 models. The Captivas are packed full of extras including leatherappointed interior trim, heated front seats, eight-way electric adjustable driver’s seat, 19-in.

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Dream run .. well up to SUV buyers’ expectations.

alloy wheels and rain-sensing wipers. Captiva 5 LTZ is available with two powertrain combinations – a 2.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine and 2.2 litre turbo diesel. The Captiva 7’s 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine is equipped with high-pressure common rail fuel injection. Both models have Holden’s new Gen II six-speed automatic transmission, while Holden’s entry level Captiva 5 has been re-badged LT. Holden executive director of sales and marketing Philip Brook says SUV buyer expectations are changing; more and more customers are looking for a richer equipment list. Captiva 7 comes standard with three rows of seats and variants offer petrol and diesel powertrain options, including a 2 litre common rail turbo diesel and

a locally-made 3.2 litre Alloytec high performance V6. The Captiva CX starts at an ultra-enticing $39,490, compared with a whopping $48,240 for the entry-level Ford Territory diesel. The diesel is also just $1000 more than the V6 petrol Captiva 7. For that money, you get an impressive level of equipment, including what could well be a ‘first’ in Australia – steeringwheel-mounted climate-control air-conditioning. Other goodies include Bluetooth with audio streaming (although there’s no USB port to plug in a smart phone or MP3 player), an electronic compass, cruise control, rear parking sensors, hill start assist and descent control and a leatherwrapped steering wheel. Safety is taken care of with six airbags and stability control,

Inside Captiva .. top marks for design.

though the curtains don’t extend to the third-row seats. The CX’s new 2.2-litre diesel is a substantial improvement over the previous engine, delivering more power (135kW v 110kW) and more torque (400Nm v 320Nm), while using less fuel (8.3L/100 km) The engine’s pulling power is another ‘plus’. There might be a slight lag in power delivery off the line but once it reaches maximum torque there’s abundant grunt for overtaking and hauling a full complement of passengers. The Captiva’s cabin gets top marks for design. The aqua hue of the instrumentation gives the car an attractive ambience at night, while there are a heap of clever cubby holes and convenience features sprinkled throughout, including a covered extra storage bin between the driver and passenger and an electronic handbrake – something you don’t get on some luxury cars. Features at a glance: Rear view camera; leather wrap steering wheel; leather appointed seating; electronic stability control; active rollover protection; driver and front passenger airbags; side curtain airbag. Tiger Island at Dreamworld – where the big cats are ‘trained, never tamed’ – was itself worth the entry fee. But we had to tell Nikki we couldn’t put a tiger in our tank and take one home!


297x210mm Vertical 254x93mm Horizontal 125x190mm Vertical 125x93mm Horizontal 73x190mm Horizontal 73x190mm Vertical 140x44.5mm 110 Vertical 34x44.5mm

297x210mm Vertical 254x93mm Horizontal 125x190mm Vertical 125x93mm Horizontal 51x93mm

ISSUE 316 | PAGE 17


Timber & Forestry E News Issue 316