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The Australian government will dedicate $15.1 million to address the dire timber shortage impacting the construction industry and slowing the progress of building and renovation across the country.
The funds will support a program targeting timber on Kangaroo Island and facilitate the transportation of bushfire‑salvaged softwood to timber mills. It’s estimated this will unlock the timber needed for 10,000 new homes.
Michael Sukkar, who serves as the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing, said that the government recognised the need to address construction material shortages, which was slowing production on new homes supported by over 135,000 HomeBuilder grants.
“By ensuring our supply chains can support the pipeline of new builds, we are helping people get into their new homes as soon as possible,” Mr Sukkar said.
He emphasised that Australia’s construction industry is a significant contributor to the country’s post‑pandemic economic recovery.
“This is reflected by the fourth consecutive increase in dwelling investment in the June National Accounts, rising 1.7 per cent since the introduction of HomeBuilder,” Mr Sukkar noted.
Builders and tradies will be breathing a sigh of relief at the government’s funding announcement, according to Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia.
“This is a great move by the government. The acute timber shortage is causing delays and cost increases that are hurting our members and negatively impacting their clients,” Ms Wawn said.
Graham Wolfe, managing director of the Housing Industry Association, welcomed the news of the government’s support, noting the industry was up against a number of roadblocks.
“Timber supply, in particular, has been affected by a range of factors, including last year’s bushfires and skyrocketing global demand.
“The residential building industry has been navigating its way through a period of record building activity, while at the same time managing the changing conditions due to COVID. Building product supply constraints have had a material impact on housing projects under construction,” Mr Wolfe said.
“The extra timber will be quickly consumed and the need remains to continue to grow the estate close to sawmilling and processing facilities to meet our housing needs,” Mr Hampton said.
Bunnings managing director Mike Schneider was glad to be able to soon ramp up timber supply for eager builders and renovators.
“We welcome this initiative, which should assist tradies access more of the materials they need to keep their projects moving and help cater to the demand for new home builds and renovations.”