Australian timber can help ease housing crisis

Friday 31 May 2024

The nation’s forestry and timber industry can help build 50,000 much needed new homes annually with climate friendly timber and wood – but we need a strong and stable construction sector to achieve that, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Diana Hallam said.

Data from AFPA and Master Builders Australia (MBA) shows from the height of the COVID pandemic until early 2024, domestic timber sales have fallen more than 500,000m³ – meaning industry has capacity for 50,000 more homes annually. This is extremely significant given MBA has forecast Australia will fall 110,000 homes short of the Federal Government’s 1.2 million homes target by 2029.

Diana Hallam said, “Industry has product on the shelf ready to construct the new and climate friendly homes of tomorrow and capacity to produce more, but we need a range of different actions to get the housing construction sector moving so we can realise our goal. With the right economic conditions and regulatory settings, we can make it happen.”

A range of different actions are needed to help realise 50,000 extra homes, including:

  • Derisking finance for building new homes
  • Cutting red tape for building approvals to encourage more timber in construction
  • Relocation stamp duty exemptions
  • Encouraging greater take-up of modular and prefabricated timber dwellings with specifications that allow for economic builds and faster building approvals
  • Providing measures to workforce capacity including, incentivised apprenticeship programs, immigration visas and upskilling/retraining current workforce
Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn said, “When it comes to timber, it’s not a materials supply issue. The timber industry has signalled it has product ready to meet housing construction needs, with annual capacity for an extra 50,000 new homes.

“We will continue to work with the Federal Government on ensuring policy levers are pulling in the right direction to ensure the industry and its supply chains are in the best possible position to achieve the Housing Accord targets,” Denita Wawn concluded.

Source: AFPA

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