Barilaro admits Government has no plan to fix timber shortage

26 February 2021

NSW Labor is warning that the shortage of timber faced by the domestic construction industry brought about by the Black Summer Bushfires could lead to higher house prices, construction delays and the loss of hundreds of construction and timber jobs unless the Berejiklian Government delivers a plan to help the industry.

NSW Labor is warning that the shortage of timber faced by the domestic construction industry brought about by the Black Summer Bushfires could lead to higher house prices, construction delays and the loss of hundreds of construction and timber jobs unless the Berejiklian Government delivers a plan to help the industry.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro was asked in NSW Budget Estimates by Labor if he has a plan for the timber industry. He confirmed that there is no plan beyond harvesting burnt timber and replanting, also confirming that that a timber supply cliff was looming. 

Timber suppliers across the State have complained of serious difficulties supplying and sourcing timber for housing construction. Some operators have predicted that the price of timber for housing construction could increase by up to 30%.
 
Building approvals are now at the highest recorded in NSW since March 2000 but the shortage of timber for the domestic construction industry could delay construction projects across the State, put thousands of jobs at risk and could prevent the promised economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession.
 
Mr Barilaro also failed to commit to a plan to protect hundreds of timber jobs in the regions that will be put at risk once the local timber industry hits its predicted supply cliff – when it cannot salvage any more burnt timber.
 
NSW Deputy Labor Leader Yasmin Catley said: “John Barilaro’s failure to deliver a plan for the timber supply crisis is putting  hundreds of construction and timber jobs at risk. Construction is meant to drive the whole COVID recovery. If it gets put on hold, the whole recovery gets put on hold.”
 
Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Paul Scully said: “Young families throughout NSW who are looking forward to build their dream home now face a nightmare of higher prices, longer delays and the Berejiklian Government has no plan to deal with it except to hope that the market fixes the problem.”