Friday Offcuts – 4 August 2017

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At the recent HarvestTECH 2017 event in New Zealand, logging contractors were unanimous. Key challenges they were facing right now were how can they retain aging workers, attract young, bright and “keen to work” youngsters into the workforce and better position the forestry industry in the minds of school leavers so it becomes a career choice to many. Earlier in the year, the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) raised the very same issue. From a recent survey of their members, labour has been listed as their biggest single current issue.

The message from those present was that they’re struggling right now to keep crews going. It’s only going to get worse. Increased harvesting levels are being projected in almost every region in the country over the next few years. It appears that in New Zealand, efforts in this space are dis-jointed. There’s some work being done around the country by a few contractors, forestry companies and regional Wood Councils (see story below on last week’s CareerFest in Southland). FICA is currently looking at a training crew model to bring in new entrants to the industry. Whilst well intentioned, it’s ad-hoc. Individuals are taking and resourcing the initiative themselves. Right now, there’s no or very little co-ordination – certainly not nationally.

The kiwis really do have to look across the Tasman to get guidance on the sort of work that’s needed in this space right now. There are a couple of stories this week that should get the NZ industry thinking. Through Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), resources have been designed to encourage school teachers and educators to build forestry and wood product resources into the school curriculum. It’s been going since 2011. There are now 56 resources on the site (check them out through the link in this week’s story), covering a wide range of teaching subjects. The programme is reaching over 50,000 students (principally, year 11 and 12 students) every year and the database of teachers has now risen to 6,500. It’s designed not only to change the attitudes of students to wood but encourage them to consider the industry as a positive career choice.

In the tertiary area, the WoodSolutions timber education program has also been generating interest. Major universities not previously offering timber engineering subjects are introducing a raft of new programmes. Lecturers in these subjects are able to access and utilise the WoodSolutions educational resources that have been made available. FWPA in Australia is co-ordinating these efforts on behalf of the industry and they and the industry have to be congratulated on the initiative. The payback is huge. The question is in New Zealand, who’s going to resource and co-ordinate similar efforts. The need is obviously there. Just ask any of the contractors in your area who are currently looking for employees.

Finally, a bit of high tech with a twist. We’ve often covered some of the advances being made with driverless or autonomous vehicles. Volvo have been one of the companies at the forefront of this drive (excuse the pun). Australia has been a tough nut to crack for the company though. Why? The car's detection system has pretty worked well in Sweden with Moose. It hasn’t been so hot though in picking up hopping kangaroos. So, you can all blame it on the roo. They’re going to be responsible for the delay in the rollout of driverless cars across Australia. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Resources for Australian teachers and students

The FWPA funded website for Australian teachers has continued to grow its reach, aiming to encourage school teachers and other educators to embed the messages found in forest and wood-based teaching resources into the curriculum.

The FWPA funded ForestLearning program has continued to go from strength to strength during the last 12 months, with more teachers and students than ever before accessing its ever-growing set of resources.

Established in 2011 in response to industry feedback, the website aims to encourage school teachers and other educators to use Australian forest and wood-based teaching resources, and embed their messages into the curriculum.

The site is a one-stop-shop that provides forest-related lesson plans, facts, videos and online games for primary and secondary school teachers. It incorporates input from a network of forest educators and forestry communication specialists from organisations across Australia, collectively known as the Australian Forest Education Alliance (AFEA).

There are now 56 resources on the site, covering a wide range of teaching subjects, with the program reaching over 50,000 students each year.

The site welcomes an average of 2,000 visitors per month, with its database of teachers having risen to 6,500. In addition, a related Facebook page has quickly developed into a major means of engagement with teachers, with over 600 followers signing up since its launch last year. Members and stakeholders are also encouraged to help spread the word about the great work of FWPA’s highly successful ForestLearning program amongst their own contacts.

Eileen Newbury said, “We are delighted with the ongoing success of the program. It is vital that our messages are taught in schools so the next generation grows up fully aware of the many advantages of wood products.”

As the program continues to grow, FWPA is looking to recruit a new program manager, as well as increase uptake, and further develop resources in response to demand and gap analysis.


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UBS to sell GFP's NZ forest assets

Forestry investment manager Global Forest Partners has hired investment bank UBS to sell its pine plantation business in New Zealand. It's understood Global Forest Partners has asked UBS to commence a sale process for Nelson Forests Ltd, which owns more than 60,000 hectares of pine plantations in New Zealand's Nelson and Marlborough regions. The business also includes the Kaituna Sawmill.

UBS is expected to pitch the forestry assets to potential buyers in coming months. The owners announced they were considering selling the business last month. Global Forestry Partners and its predecessors have owned the Nelson estate assets for the past 25 years. Nelson Management Ltd, which runs the forestry business, is owned by Nelson Forests Ltd.

Global Forest Partners is one of the world's oldest and largest forestry investment advisers and manages about $US3.1 billion in forestry assets in eleven closed-end funds. It was founded in 1982 and spent almost a decade as part of UBS. The fund manager has been employee- owned since 2003.

Global Forest Partners' investments include assets in Australia, New Zealand and South America.

Source: The Australian Financial Review

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Lumber exports boost technology investments

Increasing lumber exports leads to new technology investment - Signs are good right now for the country’s wood processing industry. Shipments from New Zealand into the US market have in fact gone up 37% over just the past four years and during the first five months of 2017.

The US has now overtaken Australia as the number one export destination for pine lumber produced in New Zealand. In terms of value, New Zealand is now the second largest overseas lumber supplier into the US, behind Chile, but still ahead of lumber exporters from Europe.

Even better is news that US market growth is expected to continue. International WOOD MARKETS Group reports that rising consumer confidence; high builder optimism; historically low interest rates and tight inventory levels of both new and existing housing in the US are all strong indicators supporting new housing starts. After a long period of under-building and price recovery, US housing starts are forecasted to grow by seven per cent per year in 2017 and 2018.

The impact of duties on Canadian lumber exports into the US could also be a game-changer for lumber exporters to the US. Any increased duties will see Canadian exports to the US drop by 10 to 15 per cent. With growing demand there and reduced lumber supplies from Canada, US buyers are expected to look for lumber from the Southern Hemisphere and Europe.

For New Zealand sawmills to meet rising log costs, remain internationally competitive and increase exports to the US, many are now investing in new sawmilling technology.

The world's most advanced sawmill and the first "super-mill" in the Southern Hemisphere, Red Stag Timber in Rotorua was officially opened recently. Having invested over NZ$100 million, general manager Tim Rigter says it has the capacity to now process over one million tonnes of logs per year. In Otago, Japanese-owned Pan Pac Forest Products completed a NZ$24 million redevelopment of it's Milburn sawmill. Other mills are increasing their production, investing in automation and looking at new equipment.

To assist local mills evaluate the very latest in sawmilling technologies, specialist tech event organisers, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is running WoodTECH 2017. It’s a two-yearly programme of tailored presentations from global technology leaders, trade exhibitions and practical workshops which runs in Rotorua on 26-27 September.

“It’s a who’s who of international saws and sawmilling technology who will be travelling into Australasia” says Brent Apthorp, FIEA director. “We already have over 20 of North America’s leading technology providers, a significant number of European sawmilling equipment suppliers together with local innovators involved in the WoodTECH 2017 series”.

“What makes 2017 special is the series of workshops that this time have been set up for local sawmills” says Mr. Apthorp. “For the first time, a series of practical troubleshooting workshops have been designed for a much wider cross section of sawmill production and operational staff. They’ll be providing an insight into how local sawmills can extract the very best performance out of their saws and sawing operations”.

In addition to showcasing new sawmilling technologies at WoodTECH 2017, another one-day conference is being run the day after WoodTECH 2017 on 28 September titled, “Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber in Construction”. “The week of planned activities will be providing a unique showcase of new production and construction technologies for wood producers, wood suppliers and wood users throughout the country.

Information links:
WoodTECH 2017 Conference & Exhibitions – Wood Scanning, Sawing, Optimisation, 26-27 September, Rotorua,

Changing Perceptions Conference – Advantages of Timber in Midrise Construction – 28 September, Rotorua,

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Engineered wood eases construction labour constraints

Labour shortages are limiting growth in both commercial building, with the recent profit downgrades at Fletcher Challenge highlighting the depth of the problems. However, commercial wood solutions already being implemented by industry leaders in Australia, Canada and New Zealand and hold the key to removing labour constraints. Engineered wood building components using automated manufacture to reduce labour content and speed project completions.

The engineering of wood components for commercial building is growing fast in Australia. Local builders and developers, led by smart operators like Lendlease and Strongbuild, in Australia’s major cities, have worked out how to automate many of the large building jobs using factory prefabrication. Case studies of their recent successes feature in an engineered timber conference coming to Rotorua in September.

Conference director John Stulen says, “Right now there’s a surprising contrast - the leading builders and developers working with wood for commercial building are finishing projects on time, on budget, without the constraints or problems blamed by the very large construction companies like Fletcher Challenge for their profit shortfall.”

“In fact, the world’s tallest timber building, at 18 stories high, Brock Commons, in Vancouver, Canada was delivered ahead of schedule,” says Stulen, “and we’ve got their lead project manager as our keynote speaker coming to our conference.”

Local designers and architects are now rapidly realising that a range of the products offered by engineered wood manufacturers get around many potential problems with challenging builds – and labour is just one of the issues that are solved by using automated manufacturing for wood panel floors, walls and engineered beams to reduce labour content.

Stulen predicts, “The next big thing set for speeding up construction jobs is timber floor cassettes. Commercial builders, developers and designers will be seeing many more solutions with these systems soon. The overall project savings from wood solutions are obvious and being captured by leaders in this industry – our conference will be full of case studies showing how wood solves many problems that traditional commercial construction practices and materials can’t.”

The conference, “Changing Perceptions of Engineered Timber in Construction” is running on 28 September in Rotorua. It's the second annual conference and attracts building owners, developers, architects, engineers, specifiers and many service and supply companies. The theme is “Advantages of Timber in Mid Rise Construction.”

The Rotorua Lakes Council are active event partners promoting their successful “Wood-First” policy. Rotorua is home to many wood manufacturing businesses including New Zealand’s largest solid wood producer – Red Stag Timber.

The conference is set to be part of a wood technology week of events coming to the city in September, including the FIEA WoodTECH 2017( two-day conference and trade expo.

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New advanced LiDAR on a fixed wing UAV

Carbomap, an environmental survey company, in collaboration with high performance LiDAR manufacturer RIEGL, UAVE and The University of Edinburgh, has announced the first successful demonstration flight of a RIEGL VUX-1LR survey-grade waveform laser scanner on a fixed wing, long range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

This is likely the first time that such a high-performance scanner has ever flown on a fixed wing UAV with such an advanced specification for long duration (8 hrs) and long range (1,000 km). With centimetre-scale 3-dimensional accuracy, this breakthrough development will greatly increase the worldwide accessibility to high quality laser scanning (known as LiDAR).

Throughout the world, LiDAR data is used for mapping infrastructure, conducting forest inventory, and determining flood risk in river basins, for example. However, obtaining such high-quality 3D data can be very expensive to obtain using conventional airborne surveys.

It is difficult to process without specialised software, and as a consequence, it is rarely available in most developing nations. By bringing such instruments together into a single UAV system (named Forest-Lux or F-Lux, for short), together with its own solution-focused software, it is now possible to get a system that can be a local asset, under local stakeholder control, and be operated at an affordable price in any country in the world.

F-Lux is based around the 4m wing-span Prion Mk3, manufactured by UAVE, which can fly beyond visible line of sight courtesy of an onboard autopilot. With a 1,000 km range, the F-Lux can cover up to 800 km2 in a single day. The key advantage of using a fixed-wing UAV for forest monitoring over a multi-rotor is the flight endurance, which significantly brings down the cost of data collection per hectare.

The LiDAR sensor is the RIEGL VUX-1LR, an industry leading, compact and lightweight, long-range LiDAR sensor, equipped with an optional waveform output – for the first time in a RIEGL VUX. Thus, the sensor provides RIEGL’s proprietary Smart Waveform® included in the data stream – resulting in an information and attribute rich, intelligent point cloud.

It can operate up to 650 m in altitude and collects full waveform LiDAR data, collecting data throughout the forest canopy and can provide vital information about what’s happening on the forest floor. World experts agree that this ability is vital for producing the very best forest metrics.

The final element in the bundle is the real-time processing component, called instant-Omega. The instant-Omega is the software element of the F-Lux package, developed by Edinburgh-based, forest LiDAR experts, Carbomap. This software can achieve real-time processing and metrics production, which offers the users the unique ability of having the data already on The Cloud by the time they return to the office. A built-in hardware solution for this software is under development.


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ETS imbalance will cost New Zealanders

Recent updates to the Government’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) are a mixed bag according to sources in the New Zealand Forestry industry. As covered last week, Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett announced a raft of changes in the fraught area of global emissions. Key players in the Forestry sector are concerned that these changes will end up costing New Zealanders unnecessarily, and jeopardise meeting our international obligations.

Under the Paris Agreement, New Zealand has ended up paying more than many other countries, simply because we emit more carbon than we fix. President of the NZ Forestry Institute James Treadwell says “the Government has done some great work in the ETS review, but it’s missed a few key opportunities to simplify the complex and piecemeal arena around global emissions”.

“Quite simply, New Zealand’s emissions profile gap can be improved, with new forestry plantings. But the recent announcements from the Minister that further changes are possible, are unlikely to motivate new forest plantings, and may even encourage deforestation.

Right now, the forestry sector needs clarity. It’s time for the Government to issue a strong message to foresters and say you will not be disadvantaged by any future changes to the ETS framework. Certainty is required. It’s forestry. We’re dealing with an investment that takes 30 years to mature”.

“Complex planning, land use and investment considerations are involved on top of these ETS requirements. NZIF and the forest sector are calling for key changes that offer greater certainty and give investor’s confidence to get into land planting. The current uncertainty does nothing to encourage long term investment such as planting of new forests, and this ultimately increases the costs for New Zealanders now and in the future”.

In addition, the Government review has left the agriculture sector outside of the ETS. This significant omission has stirred up comment across the country. The NZIF is calling time on this imbalance.

The Government needs to level the playing field in New Zealand, and bring agriculture into the ETS equation. Better to encourage investment in New Zealand forestry and facilitate meet our international emission commitments. The positive commitments of planting our own poor land, creating employment in the regions, tackling erosion, and reducing our carbon footprint are surely preferable, to buying carbon credits from other countries.

Further comment from WoodCo on the ETS announcement can be read here

One forestry expert has criticised the moves as the "final nail in the coffin". Read more

Source: NZIF, Scoop, NZ Herald

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Forestry worker shortage, youths sought out

Southland students are trying their hand at operating "hi-tech" forestry equipment, as the industry tries to draw in more workers. A shortage in forestry workers and an aging population in the NZ forestry industry meant there was a need to draw in young people interested in the career.

Rayonier Matariki Forests forester Olly Halleux said "contractors were screaming out for more people. We've got an aging workforce ... it is challenging getting workers." There was about 40,000 hectares of land to be worked on in Otago and Southland.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology programme area lead for forestry Richard Stringfellow said nationally it was becoming increasing difficult to recruit people, especially given there was a stigma about the job. People often viewed the industry negatively, as hard work, with unintelligent workers who had drug and alcohol problems, he said.

But it was not true. "They have to be switched on people." The average age of forestry workers was 55, so there was a need to bring on "fresh", young people, Stringfellow said. "We're trying to target youths ... 20 to mid-20s and younger. We want to get them in there and grow them."

A forestry harvesting simulator was set up at Career Fest Southland on Thursday and Friday. Students from schools throughout the region had a go at using the simulator that was brought down from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, which was based in Rotorua.

The $26,000 simulator was used to train students at the institute and was the only one of its kind in New Zealand. “The simulator caught the eye of many youngsters at the expo, who thought it was a game, Stringfellow said. “But it was definitely not a game, as it has the same controls as the real machines”, he said.

"As the controls, buttons and actions are all identical to the machines used out in industry, those trying it out will get as close to an experience as possible without actually being in the bush." It was the first time the simulator was brought to the Otago-Southland region.


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Self-driving cars delayed by kangaroos

We’ve provided updates on a regular basis on trials being undertaken on driverless or autonomous vehicles. But here’s a problem – and it’s unique to Australia. Volvo's newest driverless cars have a Large Animal Detection system, but there's an issue. The car's detection system cannot deal with the way kangaroos hop about, so cannot tell how far away the animals are, the ABC reports.

"We've noticed with the kangaroo being in mid-flight ... when it's in the air it actually looks like it's further away, then it lands and it looks closer," Volvo Australia's technical manager David Pickett said.

Kangaroos are problem for drivers in some parts of Australia. The cars use the ground as a reference point, so the animal detection system becomes confused by a hopping kangaroo, and cannot tell how far away it is.

Volvo first tested the animal detection software on moose in Sweden, and it worked a treat. A team was then sent to Australia 18 months ago to test the system on kangaroos, and they've be trying to solve the problem ever since. Kangaroos cause more accidents than any other animal in Australia. The marsupials are responsible for about 90 per cent of collisions between vehicles and animals, according to NRMA Insurance.

It's not an easy problem to solve. "First we have to start identifying the roo," Pickett told the ABC. "We identify what a human look’s like by how a human walks, because it's not only the one type of human — you've got short people, tall people, people wearing coats. The same applies to a roo. If you look at a roo sitting at the side of a road, standing at the side of a road, in motion, all these shapes are actually different."

Pickett said it was critical that the company solve the problem, but that it would delay the rollout of the driverless cars in Australia.

Source: Stuff

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HVP Plantations appoints new CEO

HVP Plantations announced last week it had appointed a new Chief Executive Officer, following the retirement of Karl Kny at 30 June 2017.

Stephen Ryan, who has held the position of Chief Financial Officer at HVP Plantations since 2007, has taken up the CEO role. Prior to his time at HVP, Stephen held a series of operational and executive roles across forestry, agricultural and retail sectors in Australia and the USA. HVP’s Chief Financial Officer role has also been filled, with Josie Pane joining the executive team.

HVP Plantations’ Chair, Adrian Kloeden said the HVP Board sought a candidate with experience across forestry and financial services. Stephen was selected in a competitive selection process from a strong field of internal and external candidates.

“We couldn’t be happier to have appointed Stephen for the role,” Adrian said. “He has worked across a variety of sectors, including forestry, as well as served on our executive for the past ten years. Each of these elements of his career has equipped him with skills and knowledge that will benefit HVP.”

The HVP Board also saw the value in appointing a CFO with a depth and breadth of perspective, and with experience that also lies outside of forestry. Josie Pane comes to HVP from the energy and resources sector with over twenty-five years’ experience in finance roles for both listed and large private entities.

“We believe Stephen, along with Josie, will be effective in continuing to drive the ethos that nothing is more important than the safety of our staff and contractors and the public,” Mr Kloeden said. Stephen has already started in the role, along with Josie in early July 2017.

Source: The News Mill, VAFI

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New timber engineering programmes for Australia

Exciting news for the Australian forestry and wood products industry. In ForestLearning and WoodSolutions, a number of new educational developments have occurred this year across the secondary and tertiary sectors, with a look towards 2018.

ForestLearning has released new agriculture resources for year 11 and 12 students, with others in development specifically for teachers. The resources for year 11s include topics on forest production, pests and diseases, carbon sequestration, technology and subsystems. Teacher resources are being developed in line with the 2018 national curriculum roll out, with a focus on environment and earth science for senior students visiting forests.

Ensuring the STEM related resources are ready for release in 2018 is integral, providing ForestLearning the opportunity to form the foundation of the subjects.

In tertiary news, the WoodSolutions timber education program has generated a number of positive outcomes. Three major universities, that have not previously offered timber engineering subjects, have introduced new programs:

- Deakin University (Geelong, Vic) School of Engineering has now changed its course curricula and is offering a new subject Steel and Timber Structures.
- The University of New South Wales School of Civil and Environmental Engineering has introduced a 10-week Fourth Year / Postgraduate Elective on Sustainable Timber Engineering Design.
- The University of Queensland’s School of Civil Engineering is also now delivering an advanced elective, Design of Timber Structures. Lecturers in these subjects are accessing and utilising the WoodSolutions educational resources available.

The emerging mid-rise timber construction opportunities are a key priority area – and interest in this area is increasing at both universities and TAFEs. A number of TAFEs have introduced timber engineering including:

- Box Hill TAFE – running a specific CLT apartment building project for its final year students for the second year running. One of its students in 2016 was the first winner of our WoodSolutions new Dangerous Designs competition with an apartment building.
- Holmesglen TAFE Institute – implemented a timber construction project for its final year Advanced Building Studies (Architecture) students.

FWPA is conducting presentations across the university and TAFE sectors on the merging mid-rise timber construction opportunities. A case study resource is being developed for architectural and building courses, introducing and explaining the design and construction process of an eight-storey timber apartment building.

The vocational education and training (VET) sector is currently undergoing review. This education stream has undergone a number of changes in recent years; there is now less training delivered through TAFE institutes and more through Registered Training Organisations. Our aim is to identify the major organisations nationally and to ensure they are aware of the WoodSolutions education program and resources.


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VicForests appoints new CEO

Nathan Trushell has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of VicForests following a successful period of acting CEO. VicForests’ Board Chair, Michael Humphris, said Mr Trushell brings a wealth of experience in the Victorian native timber industry.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce Mr Trushell as VicForests’ CEO,” Mr Humphris said. “Mr Trushell has more than 20 years’ experience in natural resource management, much of which he held various senior forestry management positions within Victoria. He brings with him a depth of knowledge gained over many years of facing challenges and opportunities as the industry has evolved and modernised”.

“The native timber industry is a dynamic and challenging environment and we believe Mr Trushell is the right person to take VicForests, and the important role we play in the industry, forward,” he said. “The VicForests Board looks forward to working with Mr Trushell as part of a bright and sustainable future for the native timber industry in Victoria,” Mr Humphris said.

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XLam announces significant expansion program

XLam has announced plans to expand its Nelson manufacturing facility by adding an extra Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) fabrication machine to meet its commitments for CLT products across New Zealand.

XLam CEO Gary Caulfield said the XLam Board approved a five-stage strategic expansion plan. “We are delighted to announce that as part of the first stage of the expansion program we have ordered a Hundegger PBA 3 CNC machine for the Nelson site.

“This will significantly improve the processing time and increase volume of timber process, more than doubling the current production outputs.” The expansion project is expected to increase the Nelson based operations capacity to beyond that of the existing CNC by more than 50%. This project is in addition to the recently announced development for the Australian ‘state-of-the-art’ sister plant which shall be in operation in 2018.

The expansion project has already begun with vendors supplying equipment to the Nelson site in the coming months. The first stage is scheduled for completion in February 2018. There will be further progress announcements regarding the five-stage expansion plan over coming months.

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AU$2 million contribution to forest products innovation

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the South Australian Government announcement of AU$2 million towards a National Institute for Forest Products Innovation node in Mount Gambier.

“With an AU$2 million commitment from the Federal Government and additional commitments from industry over time, the Institute has the potential to become the focal point of a strategic network of research ‘nodes’ that reflect industry priorities, and reinforcing the good work being done in other industry-led R&D efforts” said AFPA's CEO, Mr Ross Hampton.

The National Institute for Forest Products Innovation will have two nodes, one in Mt Gambier and the other in Launceston (Tasmania).

Source: AFPA

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Carter Holt Harvey closure date announced

Carter Holt Harvey has confirmed its Morwell sawmill will close on 28 September. CHH general counsel Denver Simpson recently confirmed the date with The Express last week.

On 16 May the company announced it would likely close its Morwell operation due to a lack available plantation pine supply from its supplier Hancock Victoria Plantations. The sawmill employs 160 people. The company said bushfires, including the devastating Black Saturday blazes of 2009, had destroyed 15 per cent of HVP's plantation pine estate.

The Gippsland Trades and Labour Council worked with the company to secure a worker entitlements package ahead of the closure announcement. The mill was initially set to close at the end of August. GTLC secretary Steve Dodd said the he was "quite happy" that the timeframe had been extended.

The ETU hopes to establish a worker transfer scheme, similar to the one set up for displaced Hazelwood workers, which would let CHH workers move to Australian Paper's Maryvale Mill. However, Australian Paper is yet to respond to the proposal.


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Tasmanian special timbers website launched

A new website has been launched in Tasmania dedicated to celebrating Tasmania’s craft culture, the respectful, sustainable use of Tasmania’s unique timbers and to supporting Tasmania’s designers and makers. It explores the nature and management of the forests, the unique timbers and their contribution to the story of Tasmania and of people transforming valuable timber into valued objects.

In late 2016 the Tasmanian Special Timbers Alliance Inc., began work on a project that would inform the Tasmanian and the broader Australian community about the special timbers sector. In early 2017 the concept of Living Wood Tasmania was born.

Many passionate and skilled people in Tasmania transform timbers such as Myrtle, Sassafras, Blackwood and the iconic Huon Pine into long-lasting, useful and valued items; items of form, function and beauty that flow from the wood's natural properties. Guitars, violins, wooden boats, furniture, sculpture and art – every piece is unique; a synergy of wood, culture and skill that tells the story, a story of living culture embodied in and expressed through Tasmania’s wonderful special timbers.

The initial stage of this project was to create a website that would discuss the timbers being used, sustainability, the legislative framework, and the social, environmental and economic benefits of the sector. The website ( is now live and will continue to grow over coming months as further content is added, particularly showcasing the many talented and dedicated Tasmanian people who work with our endemic timbers.

In a related move, the Tasmanian government will very soon be releasing a new Special Timbers Management Plan. The new Management Plan will be on statutory display for 42 days, and members of the public are invited to submit comments. When the comments have been considered, and any changes made, the Management Plan will be adopted throughout the Tasmanian forests where the Special Timbers Zones are identified. Under recent forestry legislation the Management Plan is required to be finalised by October of this year.

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... unique BBQ and beer cooler

Sent in by a Kiwi reader. Engineering at its best.

When you are finished barbecuing, and the ice has melted, just pull the handle down & the fire goes out.

How great is that. Is this a great country, or what!!!!

And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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