Sa timber shortage question

18 March 2021

Mr DULUK (Waite) (15:13): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Minister, what steps is the government undertaking to ensure that South Australian grown timber is kept in South Australia in order for timber yards to remain viable so that small businesses and small builders have a reasonable amount of timber supply to build homes and employ South Australians and keep their businesses afloat? Sir, with your leave and that of the house I will further explain.

Leave granted.

Mr DULUK: The HomeBuilder scheme has had a significant number of applications in South Australia, which is obviously fantastic for the local industry. However, several of my constituents have recently contacted my office to express their concern about their businesses grinding to a halt because of a shortage of timber and the ability to meet HomeBuilder demand.

The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:14): I thank the member for a very important question. It's a very challenging time in the building sector for meeting the needs of the demand that's out there, stimulated by the federal government's commitment in this space to stimulate the economy.

There has also been an interesting worldwide increased demand for timber as well that's on top of that. We have seen sawn timber imports into Australia in the 2018-19 year go from being 17 per cent of the sawn timber here in Australia down to 11 per cent in the 2019-20 year, so there are significant pressures there.

There is very much an increased demand. We are working with the timber industry, organising meetings with them, to see whether they may be able to assist in this space, but we are finding the sheer demand a challenge and it is very difficult to influence that ability to impact on that demand.