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New recipients of traceability grants announced including forestry

Australian timber industry news - Mo, 24/06/2024 - 02:57
Eleven new projects will share $4 million worth of funding in round three of the Australian Government’s Traceability Grants Program. The program supports collaborative projects that enhance traceability systems to support our agricultural export supply chains. Source: Timberbiz One of the recipients was the Advancing Transparency and Efficiency through State-of-the-Art Supply Chain Tracking for the Australian Forest Export Industry. The project will develop data standard protocols and frameworks for the forest industry that can be utilised across the supply chain and assist with traceability system development. The project will then use those protocols to develop a tracking tool to address the existing concerns raised by timber industry regarding the non-compliance of export logs. Deputy Secretary for Agricultural Trade and Regulation, Tina Hutchison, said that this latest round of grants continues the important work under rounds 1 and 2 to enhance the traceability of Australian agriculture commodities. “As with the first two rounds of this program, we’re proud to assist more Australian farmers and producers to improve agricultural supply chain traceability systems and access the opportunities which open up as a result,” Ms Hutchison said. “Beneficiaries from this round widely cover the agricultural sector- from first nations producers of native foods to wine, honey, pork, beef and sheep producers, seafood harvesters, timber exporters, and more. “These grants will help them maintain their competitive export edge and increase their ability to extend into lucrative export markets.” Prior to the launch of Round 3, the Government released the National Agricultural Traceability Strategy 2023 to 2033. The strategy contains 8 objectives and 11 priority areas for action. The Traceability Grants Program – Round 3 is funding projects that focus on the priority areas for action that include: Enhancing and supporting trust and adoption of agricultural traceability through demonstration of value-add and return on investment. Improving two-way, producer-consumer information flows to identify value-add creation and distribution opportunities and drive business development. Establishing a flexible and responsive agricultural traceability research and development agenda. The Traceability Grants Program is a part of the Modernising Agricultural Trade – Promoting Australia’s Clean, Green Brand initiative. Building on the outcomes of earlier rounds, the activities funded under Traceability Grants Program – Round 3 are expected to be completed by 30 June 2026.

Activists arrested in Tasmanian forest

Australian timber industry news - Mo, 24/06/2024 - 02:56
A five-week forest protest in the Tarkine has intensified after activists attached themselves to a Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) car, leading police to swoop in and arrest them. Source: Hobart Mercury Bob Brown Foundation (BBF) protesters are currently maintaining a presence in the native forests bordering the Arthur and Frankland rivers, saying endangered species in the area, including Tasmanian masked owls, are being put at risk by logging operations conducted in forest coupe Frankland two A (FR002A). The organisation is calling on the Rockliff government to end native forest logging entirely. According to the BBF, three protesters, Ellie Martin, Ian McKenzie, and Alison Wardrop, “locked down” a road to a remote logging site on Friday morning. Ms Martin and Mr McKenzie attached themselves to an STT vehicle that had been “blocking the public road”, while Ms Wardrop, attached herself to the road itself. A Tasmania Police spokeswoman said police arrived at the scene about 8.30am, arresting three people and later charging them. The spokeswoman said a 67-year-old man from Northern Tasmania had been charged with trespass and fail to comply with the direction of a police officer. A 43-year-old woman from Victoria was also charged with trespass, as was a 71-year-old woman from the ACT. It brings the number of arrests recorded at the protest site over the past five weeks to a total of 17. STT general operations manager Greg Hickey said FR002A was a native forest regrowth coupe located on Permanent Timber Production Zone land and that protest activity there was creating “unnecessary safety risks for both protesters and forest contractors”. “Protest activity at FR002A has included site presence and gate and machinery lock-ons,” he said. “Protest activity has and continues to occur on various harvesting operations from time to time. Active protests will be managed in accordance with Sustainable Timber Tasmania’s well-established procedures.” Resources Minister Eric Abetz said forestry activities had to be approved by the independent forest practices regulator, the Forest Practices Authority. “[The BBF] will stop at nothing to end our sustainable native forestry sector and the many regional Tasmanian jobs it supports,” he said. The Liberals are proposing to make an additional 39,000ha of native forest available for logging, despite states like Western Australia and Victoria moving to end the practice entirely.

Trainee saw doctors at AKD

Australian timber industry news - Mo, 24/06/2024 - 02:56
A group of TAFE NSW Tumut saw technician apprentices – including a 63-year-old trainee – have had a firsthand glimpse of one of the region’s powerhouse sawmills in action as part of a special visit last month. Source: Timberbiz The group of Certificate III in Saw Technology students, from sawmills across Australia, were recently given a guided tour of the nation’s largest soft wood sawmilling business, Tumut’s AKD. Part of an annual study tour using industry connections from the teachers at TAFE NSW Tumut’s Forestry Industries Centre, the visit enabled apprentices to see how a high-volume state-of-the-art softwood mill operated and gave AKD an opportunity to identify future talent. Saw technicians, also known as saw doctors, are an irreplaceable part of the timber industry, repairing, setting and sharpening saw blades for timber production, often working within fractions of millimetres. “This is the hub of the softwood industry in NSW and many of these apprentices haven’t seen anything like this before; it was a real eye-opener,” AKD saw shop supervisor Bill Stuckey said. “They got a real insight into how automation allows a log to be segregated, separated and broken down as sawn timber without a hand touching it. “There’s so much demand for saw technicians right now and for a young person that likes detail and working within tight tolerances, it’s a great career to get into.” Mr Stuckey said the local timber industry was still recovering from the disastrous 2019-2020 bushfires, which devastated more than a third of the region’s commercial forestry plantation area. TAFE NSW Tumut is one of only two forestry training providers in Australia, giving apprentice saw doctors from across the nation the skills and experience to forge long careers in the industry. Tumut and Tumbarumba are home to a global forestry industry, with nearly 18 per cent of the region’s workforce employed in the industry. One of the saw technicians who attended the visit was ex-builder Craig Schweikert, a 63-year-old from South West Rocks who is launching a new career when many are considering retirement. Mr Schweikert’s partner recently became a partner at Macleay River Hardwood, and he turned to TAFE NSW Tumut to give him the hands-on skills, knowledge and experience to work as a saw technician. “Retiring wasn’t an option for me and I’m still physically fit, so I decided to become a trainee at 63,” he said. “It was mind-blowing to visit AKD as I’d never had any exposure to softwoods before.”  

Pentarch closes pallet mill due to Vic Government native timber decision

Australian timber industry news - Mo, 24/06/2024 - 02:55
Pentarch Forestry’s pallet mill in Dandenong will cease operating next month due to a shortage of hardwood timber so 700,000 Australian-made hardwood pallets will be taken out of circulation thanks to a Victorian Government decision. Source: Timberbiz The mill, which had been operating since 1989 and was acquired by Pentarch in 2021, produced 700,000 hardwood pallets each year and employed 49 staff at its peak output. However, a lack of supply of hardwood caused by the closure of the native timber sector in Victoria means operations at the Dandenong South site will end. “This outcome is the result of the Victorian Government decision to end timber harvesting,” Pentarch Forestry CEO Paul Heubner said. “When the mill was acquired, we were confident that the Victorian Government had a workable plan for timber supply until 2030 followed by a transition into plantation, but they have failed to deliver on either promise. “The sudden decision to shut down the native timber sector has resulted in significant job losses for Pentarch and other hardwood suppliers, and now 700,000 pallets out of the supply chain each year. “It is another blow to our sovereign capability to supply domestic wood products and reduce our dependence on imports, which impacts the global timber economy.” The Dandenong pallet mill is one of several Pentarch Forestry operations which supply much needed and renewable hardwood timber products to the Australian and global markets. Hardwood pallets are an important part in the retail supply chain with their ability to safely handle heavy loads. The shortfall from the Dandenong Mill will now be replaced with pallets made with imported timber from jurisdictions that are unlikely to have the same sort of control and forest management practice as Australia.


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by Dr. Radut