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Bob Gordon

Value-adding creates 60 new regional jobs

In conjunction with John Holland Pty Ltd, Forestry Tasmania developed the Huon Wood Centre as an investment-ready site that would meet the objectives of the Forestry Growth Plan. In 2007, the local community celebrated with Malaysian-based company Ta Ann, as its first Tasmanian rotary veneer mill was opened.

When Premier Paul Lennon officially opened Ta Ann Tasmania’s Huon rotary veneer mill in May 2007, it marked the culmination of many years of planning and persistance by FT to attract private sector investment to our State’s wood processsing industry.

FT’s plan in developing the Wood Centre was to provide the foundation for companies such as Ta Ann to invest with confidence in Tasmania. We have now seen the reward of this foresight, with a major project brought to fruition and 60 new jobs created for the people of the Huon Valley.

Projects such as this, which develop innovative, high-quality products from regrowth timbers, will lead the way as the industry gradually makes the transition out of old growth timber.

This growth in jobs is not only good news for the Huon region, it is good news for Tasmania as a whole. Economist Dr Bruce Felmingham has estimated that the State’s economy will grow by some $32 million as a result of this increased employment.

The rotary veneer mill also delivered on Forestry Tasmania’s long-term plan to find new ways of adding value to Tasmanian regrowth timber.

This mill will produce high-quality veneer from regrowth logs that would otherwise be classified as pulpwood. This value-added product will ensure that Tasmania receives the maximum return from its timber.

Already, Ta Ann is receiving a very favourable response to Tasmanian eucalypt veneer through market trials with its Japanese customers. The product is highly regarded in this market for its strength and durability.

In fact, Ta Ann is unable to meet the market demand for this product from the Huon mill alone. We were pleased to see the official start of work in May 2007 on the company’s second veneer mill at the Circular Head Wood Centre.

Tasmania’s ability to supply sustainable wood products has provided Ta Ann with a competitive advantage in its overseas markets. Ta Ann services major customers, who demand that the timber they purchase is verified as being harvested from sustainable sources. Tasmania’s reserve system, which surpasses international benchmarks, and Forestry Tasmania’s certification under the Australian Forestry Standard provide this verification.

Forestry Tasmania will continue to develop the Wood Centre to its full potential as an integrated timber processing facility. The Wood Centre will ensure that every piece of timber brought to the site is used to its most valuable end. It will also continue to support the Huon community with investment and employment opportunities.

Bob Gordon
Managing Director

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