Friday Offcuts – 28 October 2022

growing info milling transportation forest products

Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!

Australia’s Federal Budget this week reinforced the Government’s recognition and support for the sector. In summary, within the Budget, AU$100 million has been confirmed for a new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation, AU$8.6 million allocated for an extension of the Regional Forestry Hubs from 2024 25, AU$10 million for skills and training, AU$86.2 million has been recommitted for plantation establishment grants and another AU$112.9 million for wood processing innovation grants. Forest industries are also expected to benefit from the AU$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund targeting grants to stimulate regional manufacturing. Full 2022 Budget details can be downloaded here.

Although not directly linked to the forestry industry, many of us have been looking with a keen eye at what’s happening in other industries, including agriculture, for opportunities to integrate autonomous machines into our wood harvesting, log handling and transport operations. Interest picked up last week when, Robotics Plus, launched in the USA, their new multi-purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). This is the same company behind the development of robotic automatic log scaling machines that have been transforming port logistics, safety and productivity.

This week we cover the launch of this new UGV. A fleet of these new autonomous vehicles can be supervised by a single operator. The machine itself has been designed so it can be used as a platform for carrying out a number of tasks for jobs like spraying, weed control, mulching, mowing and crop analysis. The first application for the technology is spraying where the system intelligently varies the flow rate to ensure spray efficacy whilst reducing inputs. Spray rates and airspeed are controlled in zones and can respond as the sprayer moves along orchard or vineyard rows. Think about it. It could open up an array of new possibilities for forest operations.

Next, we have more technology announcements for you. In forest technology, as we come out of our own planting season, we’ve included an interesting story out of the UK where new trials have found that tree seedlings can grow six times faster in a vertical farm compared to traditional outdoor sowing. When we think of vertical farms, we usually associate them with growing herbs, leafy greens and vegetables. The trials have shown though that there’s no barrier to successfully growing tree seedlings using this system. Tree seed germination rates were significantly more efficient compared to traditional outdoor broadcast sowing and tree seedlings grew 40-50cm tall in just 90 days compared to about 18 months out in the field.

Finally, in wood harvesting this week we feature one of the longest partnerships in NZ forestry. Gamble Forest Harvesting celebrated 50 years of working with City Forests last year. We’ve built in a video with Safetree Toroawhi, Richard Stringfellow talking to the companies about their long working relationship, particularly the benefits of their ‘evergreen’ contract which has no fixed termination date but keeps rolling over. And in another video, Darren Herd from Tasmanian based company, Forico explains how the company’s been able to transition from measuring dry logs coming in from green metric tonnes to cubic metres. In their Tasmanian operation they’re using an automatic volume measurement system that is measuring wood loaded on truck in less than 2 minutes using Woodtech’s Logmeter scanner. That’s it for this week.

Subscribe a friend | Unsubscribe | Advertise Here

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

This week we have for you:

Recent Comments

AU$100m for Australian National Institute announced

A new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) will embark on transformative R&D with AU$100 million confirmed for the Launceston headquartered centre in this week’s Federal Budget.

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said the record-breaking commitment comes alongside other initiatives to enhance skills and training and grow Australia’s forestry estate to secure our future wood fibre supply.

“The NIFPI will turbocharge Australia’s innovation capability in emerging technologies such as biomaterials, biochemicals and biofuels, as well as traditional fields such as forest science and timber processing,” Ross Hampton said. “This investment will position Australia as a world leader in the development of wood based technologies that will maximise the potential of our sustainable timber and wood fibre and create new advanced manufacturing opportunities.”

The Budget delivers on several Federal Labor election commitments including AU$100 million for the NIFPI, AU$8.6 million to extend Regional Forestry Hubs from 2024 25 and to provide extension services, and AU$10 million for skills and training to equip the forest industries workforce with competencies, credentials, training and accreditations.

Additionally, the Budget recommits AU$86.2 million for plantation establishment grants and AU$112.9 million for wood processing innovation grants funded in the March Budget. Forest industries are also expected to benefit from the AU$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

“Tonight (Tuesday 25th October) , the Treasurer committed to building one million new houses. But we will only be able to build more houses if we plant one billion new production trees by 2030 to meet future demand. Furthermore, global demand for wood and fibre is forecast to quadruple by 2050, showing initiatives to grow the estate are on the right track,” Ross Hampton said. We welcome the Government’s recognition of the sector in tonight’s Federal Budget,” Ross Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

Comment on story    

Autonomous agricultural modular vehicle launched

Multi-use, modular platform Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) automates tree and vine crop tasks, starting with intelligent spraying

Robotics Plus, a New Zealand-based agritech company, has just launched its autonomous multi-use, modular vehicle platform for agriculture designed to carry out a variety of orchard and vineyard machine tasks - to alleviate ongoing labour shortages and transform the industry.

The multi-purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) can be supervised in a fleet of vehicles by a single human operator. The vehicle uses a combination of vision systems and other technologies to sense the environment - to optimize tasks and allow intelligent and targeted application of inputs such as sprays.

Growers will be able to rotate multiple tools on the highly adaptable and configurable agriculture platform, depending on the day’s work - for jobs such as spraying, weed control, mulching, mowing and crop analysis.

Robotics Plus, a specialist in the design and build of robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous machines, unveiled its demonstration vehicle at FIRA USA 2022, a California-based event dedicated to autonomous agriculture and agricultural robotics solutions for the North American market.

Steve Saunders, Co-founder and CEO of Robotics Plus, says its world-class team worked alongside growers, researchers and best-in-class technology suppliers to deliver the unique modular architecture for its multi-purpose UGV, which can operate in a range of environments. “We’ve created a flexible agricultural platform with the power to adapt to different crop types with tools for various applications, providing year-round automation benefits and maximizing machine utilization. To adapt and thrive in a changing world and create a sustainable and competitive future in the agricultural and speciality tree crop sector - growers and orchardists need automation that solves real-world problems, reduces reliance on increasingly costly and hard-to-find machine operators and provides data-driven insights for informed decision-making.”

Saunders says that for automation to be adopted, it must also provide a good return on investment. “Our multi-purpose vehicle replaces tractors and other tools. But, it does much more than just replacing labour – it’s loaded with intelligence to improve efficiencies,” he says. The first application for the technology is intelligent spraying. The system intelligently varies the flow rate to ensure spray efficacy whilst reducing inputs. Spray rates and airspeed is controlled in zones and responds as the sprayer moves along orchard or vineyard rows.

The highly manoeuvrable UGV has a small footprint and unique steering configuration, incorporating electric steering and independent motors, which increases productivity - allowing significantly more ground to be covered than machines which turn on every second row or greater, depending on row configuration. The UGV can be deployed in a range of applications in various crop types with a minimum row spacing of 1.8M/6ft.

Dr Alistair Scarfe, Co-founder and CTO of Robotics Plus, says its hybrid electric diesel UGV delivers outstanding performance in the field. “Electric drive motors give superior torque and control, whilst a Tier 4 diesel generator means the vehicle can operate for extended periods. Fuel consumption is minimized by electrically driving all systems, including tools. Regenerative braking and high-capacity batteries also extend efficiency and range.

“In addition, the vehicle’s lightweight design and intelligent all-wheel-drive system, with independent wheel motors to ensure grip and control - while significantly reducing ground compaction to protect the soil,” he says.

The vehicle has been designed from the ground up to be modular and easy to service. With no hydraulic, gearbox or differential fluids to be managed, operators can easily keep their vehicles running if a part fails by simply swapping out modules when needed. All of this is designed to reduce downtime and complexity for growers.

Robotics Plus has partnered with best-in-class technology suppliers, including Yamaha Motor Company, Autonomous Solutions Inc., and Croplands, to significantly increase the robustness and support for the product in a demanding environment such as agriculture. Saunders says by taking a partnership approach, Robotics Plus has created a best-in-class platform for the agriculture industry.

“We’ve benefited from our partner’s deep knowledge and access to high-quality technology components. In addition, growers can deploy Quantum sprayers with configurations adaptable to various crop types, growing formats, and heights.”

Comment on story    

SnapSTAT - NZ Forestry Workforce

Source: FOA Facts and Figures 2020/2021 (page 45)

Comment on story    

Vertical farm trees growing six times faster

Tree seedlings are being grown six times faster in a vertical farm compared to traditional outdoor sowing, in the first UK trials of their kind. Growing 40-50cm tall in just 90 days – something that in a field would take up to 18 months – the tree trials could potentially transform the forestry sector and help UK to meet its net zero targets faster.

Vertical farms are more commonly associated with growing herbs, leafy greens and vegetables but these trials have proved that there is no barrier to successfully growing tree seedlings. The trials are being run by Forestry & Land Scotland (FLS) in partnership with precision indoor growing technology specialist, Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS).

FLS has already completed five growing trials at the IGS Crop Research Centre, based at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, just outside Dundee. Species that have successfully been grown at the facility include both conifers, such as Norway and Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, lodge pole and Scots pine, and broadleaf varieties, including oak, alder, aspen, rowan, hazel and birch.

Each trial has yielded better results than the last, with tweaks being made each time to the environment including watering regimes, light settings and nutrition. Tree seed germination rates are significantly more efficient (around 95% with a 10-14-day germination period) compared to traditional outdoor broadcast sowing.

FLS estimates the process will use around half the number of seeds currently required, a particular success for species such as native Scots pine and aspen, which have seeds that are difficult to collect. The vertical farm grown seedlings have already been planted out into the ground at FLS’s Newton Nursery near Elgin and have hardened off successfully (acclimatised to the outdoors to ensure new growth is sturdy).

A sixth trial now under way and will aim to actually slow the growth rate down to get a thicker root-collars on the seedlings, making them more suitable for planting out in restock forest. The vertical farming system is also expected to produce a more consistent product, which will then grow on for one or two years outdoors in fields, before planting out into forests. This is because the vertical farm controls all the conditions that matter to a plant such as temperature, light, water, wind and humidity to produce the optimum conditions for growth.

More >>

Source: ttjonline

Comment on story    

AU$25m in grants under the Victorian Forestry Plan opened

The Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) welcomes the announcement of three grant programs under the Victorian Forestry Plan to support timber communities and innovation, VFPA Chief Executive Officer Deb Kerr said this week.

Minister for Agriculture Gayle Tierney announced the opening of three grant programs worth nearly AU$25 million, the majority of which is used for community grants. Just AU$3 million is directed towards mills that are being asked to exit the use of native timber – timber that 68% of voters in a recent VFPA poll backed access to and use of in the future.

This election, VFPA is asking the incoming government to overturn its decision to phase out native forestry by 2030, to implement active forest management for improved ecological outcomes and to recover timber from both forest management and landscape fire management activities.

Source: VFPA

Comment on story    

Celebrating long-term evergreen harvesting contract

In what must be one of the longest partnerships in NZ forestry, Safetree Certified Contractor Gamble Forest Harvesting celebrated 50 years working for City Forests in 2021. Safetree Toroawhi Richard Stringfellow talked to the companies about their long working relationship, particularly the benefits of their ‘evergreen’ contract – which has no fixed termination date but keeps rolling over.

Tony Gamble says the long-term contract has given him the ability and the confidence to invest in his equipment and his people, making him a more successful contractor. City Forests CEO Grant Dodson says the benefits to his company have come from better health and safety, and improved productivity.

Watch the video to see more.

Source: Safetree

Comment on story    

Preliminary concerns with acquisition of Hume Forests

The ACCC has outlined preliminary concerns with Forestry Corporation of New South Wales’ (FCNSW) proposed acquisition of the assets of Hume Forests Ltd (Hume) in a statement of issues just published. Hume is being sold in a competitive bid process.

FCNSW is a state-owned corporation that manages commercial native and plantation forests on behalf of the NSW Government. Market feedback indicates that FCNSW accounts for over 60 per cent of the plantation area in the Tumut/Tumbarumba region and over 75 per cent of the plantation area in the Bathurst/Oberon region, and consequently is the dominant softwood log supplier in the regions.

Hume owns softwood plantation estates in the Tumut/Tumbarumba and Bathurst/Oberon regions of NSW. Hume is the only alternative supplier of significant size in the Bathurst/Oberon region and one of the few alternatives of significant size in the Tumut/Tumbarumba region.

“We are concerned that this acquisition is likely to lead to price increases or reductions in service levels for the supply of softwood logs in the Tumut/Tumbarumba and Bathurst/Oberon regions by removing a significant competitor to FCNSW,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“Barriers to entry and expansion are very high in the forestry industry. Market shares reflect access to land in these regions and that is unlikely to significantly change in the long term. Given the nature of the industry, we are considering competition issues with a long-term time horizon of 25 years or more,” Mr Keogh said.

“This industry is characterised by long-term contracts and infrequent tenders by plantation owners. In this context, we are carefully considering the extent to which FCNSW and Hume are likely to competitively constrain one another.”

The ACCC is considering the claims by FCNSW that it will be constrained from exerting market power post acquisition due to its status as a state-owned corporation, existing long-term contracts, the constraint from downstream imports, and customer buying power. The ACCC is exploring these issues, taking into account the potential for FCNSW to be privatised in the future.

The ACCC invites submissions from interested parties in response to the statement of issues by 3 November 2022. The ACCC’s final decision is scheduled for 27 January 2023. More information, including the statement of issues, is available at: Forestry Corporation of NSW – Hume Forests Ltd

Source: Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Comment on story    

Hydrogen and bio-fuels feasbility studies for Kinleith

The New Zealand Government will undertake a NZ$2 million feasibility study to explore the development of hydrogen and bio-fuels at Tokoroa's Kinleith Mill. Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says the partnership between the Government and Oji Fibre Solutions, which runs the mill, could also boost the development of sustainable wood products, create jobs and reduce emissions across the economy.

Nash says: "Throughout this study, we'll investigate how we can make high-value and sustainable bio-products from wood. This could create high-wage, highly-skilled jobs as well as unlocking regional economic opportunities and ultimately building a ... sustainable ... bio-economy."

Oji Fibre Solutions chief executive Jon Ryder says the study is great news for both the country and Oji. "The study is a fantastic opportunity for New Zealand to look at how it can increase value from the wood we grow by making a mix of products, like solid wood, packaging, wood-based chemicals and bio-energy; it is also an opportunity for Oji to fully understand our choices for the site."

The announcement of the feasibility comes hot on the heels of South Waikato District Council's visit to Parliament in August where it sought long-term funding solutions for the district. A spokesperson for Nash says: "The outcomes of the study will identify a mutually beneficial pathway to a potential ... investment case."

Ryder says the mill's location in the South Waikato was very important. "The Kinleith area is a strategic location ... being a large brownfield site, close to the country's largest exotic plantation forests, other wood processing facilities and near crucial transport networks ... If New Zealand wants to meaningfully develop a bio-economy based on wood, the Kinleith location, must be at the centre."

Oji Fibre Solutions employs more than 500 people in the South Waikato. Although the operation at Kinleith Mill is one of the country's energy-intensive industries, it already uses more than 80 per cent renewable energy in form of wood-waste fuels and lignin.

Nash says the joint feasibility study was "the perfect opportunity" to think differently about how New Zealand processes wood. The study will be completed early next year and cost NZ$2 million, of which the Ministry for Primary Industries will fund 50 per cent and Oji funding the remainder.

Oji Fibre Solutions is an international company that produces pulp, paper and packaging products. It was founded in 1873 in Japan and bought the New Zealand company Carter Holt Harvey in 2014.

Source: nzherald

Comment on story    

Landmark Australian national bushfire framework

A landmark new body of work has been released to assist governments and private organisations to tackle Australia’s growing bushfire problem and save lives, land and property.

Turning the Goals of the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement into Objectives and Key Performance Indicators aims to guide improvements in bushfire management and provide consistent reporting nationally on achievements.

The work has been prepared by the Forest Fire Management Committee of Forestry Australia and the Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG). FFMG reports to the Forestry and Forest Products Committee which advises Ministers responsible for forest matters.

The framework complements The National Bushfire Management Policy Statement agreed to by the Premiers and Chief Ministers of all States and Territories, and the Prime Minister, in 2014 with the inclusion of measurable objectives.

Launching the report at Forestry Australia’s National Symposium, Forestry Australia President Bob Gordon said it was vital that all states and territories worked together to tackle the nation’s growing fire challenges in a co-ordinated and accountable manner.

“It’s clear that Australia has a wicked bushfire problem, resulting in an increasingly devasting loss of life, land and property every year we don’t take action to correct it,” Mr Gordon said. “It’s also clear that bushfires know no boundaries, and in order to rein them in as a nation, we need a strong national approach with all states and territories pulling in the same direction.

“We have developed this framework to promote greater co-ordination, collaboration, and accountability across state and federal governments, and are calling for buy-in at all levels. “The ultimate outcome is that Australian lives will be saved from bushfires, Australia’s environment will be better protected with enhanced ecosystem biodiversity, conservation and maintenance of soils and water catchments in a healthy state, and Australia shall be able to better address climate change impacts and reduce carbon emissions.”

The National Bushfire Management Policy Statement provides an agreed view for good fire management practice across Australia’s forests and rangelands. It identifies a set of principles to guide fire management and lists 14 specific goals to deliver on those principles.

Fire ecologist Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM, from the University of Melbourne, who led the development of the new framework within Forestry Australia’s Forest Fire Management Committee, said the introduction of measurable outcomes would provide a means to systematically analyse Australia’s fire management progress towards meeting the documented national goals.

“In response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and various other inquiries, fire managers from government agencies in all states and territories prepared a National Bushfire Management Policy Statement for Forests and Rangelands,” Dr Tolhurst said. “This policy statement was signed off by all COAG (Council of Australian Governments) members by early 2012 and published in 2014. As yet, there has been little action on implementing this policy”.

“Having measurable outcomes is key for forest land managers because without measurable outcomes, it will be impossible to systematically improve fire management performance and knowledge as required by the process of adaptive management. Without measurable outcomes, it will also be difficult to attract the level of funding, resources and public support required to work towards the nationally agreed shared vision for forest fire management.”

A copy of Turning the Goals of the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement into Objectives and Key Performance Indicators can be downloaded here

Source: Forestry Australia

Comment on story    

Log load measurements –green metric tonnes to m3

Logmeter, is an automatic system that delivers in real-time high-precision volume measurements and estimates biometrics characteristics of wood logs loaded on a truck before entering the mill.

Forestry companies are increasing the application of technological tools in their industrial processes. Control, efficiency, and the strengthening of sustainability throughout their value chain are some of the challenges that companies address with solutions that make variables visible in operational processes and enable their management.

“Possibilities offered by technological solutions must be used. The art is to focus them on what we want to make visible or to measure to obtain appropriate answers”, explains Carlos Bussinger, CEO at Woodtech. Woodtech has been present in the forestry industry for more than 15 years by developing solutions for main players in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, Australia, the USA, and Indonesia.

Logmeter, developed by Woodtech, is an automatic volume measurement system of wood loaded in a truck, without the need to unload it and in less than 2 minutes. “According to actual measurements provided by clients, the correlation between results delivered by Logmeter and Archimedes method is more than 95%”, said CEO of Woodtech.

Since 2018 Logmeter has been present in Forico’s operations in Tasmania. It has been an important piece of infrastructure to their strategic project, where sustainability plays an important role.

As part of this process, the company identified critical points in its supply chain. They were looking to dry their logs in relation to the product that they sell. In this context they did the transitioning into cubic metres from green metric tonnes, by using Logmeter. They had to do some changes to make possible the supply chain transformation. Transportation of dry logs made loading more efficient, less trucks transporting the wood logs and therefore less emissions of greenhouse gases.

"Among many other benefits, this is a clear example of how technology can contribute to sustainability at different stages of the supply chain", explains the CEO at Woodtech.

Source: Woodtech

Comment on story    

Stark warning to NZ trucking businesses

Costs for NZ road transport businesses have risen almost four times higher than inflation in the last quarter, according to the latest Grant Thornton Cost Index.

The quarterly index shows that there has been an overall quarterly increase to June 2022 of 6.24% to road transport business costs, compared with a 1.66% increase in the CPI inflation for the same period. Between September 2018 and September 2020, despite an increasing CPI, transport costs managed to stay relatively stable. However, in the last two years, the transporting inflation index is showing unprecedented increases and the gap between that and CPI is growing wider.

The index demonstrates that just passing on inflation level increases isn’t going to be enough to keep some trucking businesses afloat. The industry cost increases are overwhelmingly higher than inflation, driven by fuel increases of 29.64%, followed by an increase in the cost of tyres of 4.10%.

Nobody will be surprised by this, but we are now armed with the information. As a road transport operator, to stay in business, you have got to charge appropriately. Yes, that will affect consumers but the trucking industry cannot afford to carry additional costs itself. Businesses need to understand their own costs, engage with their customers, and pass those costs on. It is important for the economy that trucking companies remain viable to avoid an even more challenged supply chain than currently exists.

Economist Cameron Bagrie warned at the conference that there are about six economic cycles to be aware of. Trucking businesses are now on “cost watch”. We know from a recent industry survey, that one in five transport companies say they are unable to pass any of their costs on, and that is a concern. The good news is that the same survey told us over 40% of industry businesses said the Government’s Road User Charge (RUC) discount of 36% was helping with these cost pressures.

Nick Leggett, Chief Executive, Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

Source: transporttalk

Comment on story    

WIDE Trust supports Schools Visitor Programme

With support from the WIDE Trust Scion Research has appointed Mr Tim McLay, a trained teacher, to manage the development and delivery of a programme to encourage NZ school aged students into a forestry and wood-based bio economy science and technology career. A Scion scientist, Dr Toni Withers, has been seconded to assist Mr McLay.

The over-riding objective of the Scion Schools Visitor Programme is to give students exposure to Scion and the forest and wood-based bio economy sector resulting in students moving from school into tertiary training in skills and capabilities of importance to the sector and its current and future needs.

The development of the programme is a response to the recognised skills shortages that currently exist, and are projected to increase, across the primary sector including the forest and wood sectors. Dr Tim Payne, Principal Scientist at Scion Research says “The science sector is facing skills shortages and recruitment issues that are impacting Scion, a key provider of research and development to the forest and wood sectors. Scion is developing a ‘grow our own’ development strategy, focussing on people in New Zealand, which spans school age, tertiary and in work components.”

The Scion Schools Visitor Programme aims to establish a pipeline flowing from school through tertiary training to ultimate employment in the science and technology sector that will support the success of the Scion “grow our own” approach. Dr Payn says “Reaching high school students early is proven to have an impact on their future training and career choices. We will work with local schools, the Ministry of Education and key tertiary providers to develop a programme and trial it at Scion’s Rotorua campus.”

Dr Payn is hopeful that the end result will be an operating programme that gives students a taste of science and technology and the wider forest and wood sectors with a number moving into tertiary study as a result. “We aim to produce a structured programme that can be regularly updated, and that appeals to a school audience”, Dr Payn says.

Businesses, students and others involved in studies and work to enhance the forestry and wood industry sectors in New Zealand are invited to apply to the WIDE Trust for a grant to support their efforts.

Apply Online -

Source: WIDE Trust

Comment on story    

Treemetrics signs €1.2m contract with ESA

Cork-headquartered Treemetrics, a forestry management software firm, will play a key role in a new project to provide more accurate forest carbon credit estimates to the European Space Agency (ESA).

Treemetrics, which was founded in 2005 by Enda Kane and Garret Mullooly, has developed new technology to replace traditional forestry methods.

Under a new two-year, €1.2 million contract with the ESA, Treemetrics will utilise satellite imaging, data analytics and its forest measurement technology to deliver forest carbon credit estimates.

Enda Keane, chief executive of Treemetrics, said the new project will play an important role in building greater trust and transparency in the growing forest carbon credit market.

“The measurement and management of forests will be a key factor in the global community’s efforts to tackle the effects of climate change and to live and operate sustainably,” he said.

“It is essential that we accurately measure and harness one of our greatest natural resources, forests, and this is what Treemetrics has been working on since its foundation.”

Comment on story    

Victorian construction industry turns to Europe

A delegation led by Master Builders Victoria will attempt to poach international expertise to help reinvigorate the state’s struggling construction sector. The delegation will meet with industry peers in Europe, Canada and the United States as part of an international research project to support Victoria’s post-COVID building and construction industry.

The cost of building in Victoria rose faster than in any other state because of a massive increase in material prices, forcing a growing number of business failures that has left hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of projects in limbo.

Master Builders Victoria chief executive Rebecca Casson said many of the state’s builders were struggling with profitability while dealing with skills and labour shortages, ongoing material price increases, significant workplace stress, and mental health issues.

A critical shortage of skilled tradespeople had also compounded the crisis, Casson said, with the industry experiencing gaps across carpentry, bricklaying, project managers and building surveyors.

Timber prices have increased almost 40 per cent over the past three years, with the war in Ukraine pushing up the price of timber products from Russia by 25 per cent this year. The cost of steel rose by 30 to 60 per cent last year, while electrical and concrete costs have risen by 20 to 40 per cent.

More >>

Source: theage

Comment on story    


Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... more one-liners

People have always named their children after expensive things, eg Mercedes, Dior, Chardonnay etc. Next year, watch out for Electric, Gas and Diesel.

Scientists got together to study the effects of alcohol on a person’s walk, and the result was staggering.

I’m trying to organize a hide and seek tournament, but good players are really hard to find.

I went to the toy store and asked the assistant where the Schwarzenegger dolls are and he replied, “Aisle B, back.”

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, but no atmosphere.

If you see me talking to myself, just move along. I’m self-employed. We’re having a meeting.

And finally, “Your call is very important to us. Please enjoy this 40-minute flute solo".

I notice that as I am getting older, I am becoming much stronger. Now, I can already lift a bag of $150 worth of groceries, and I never used to be able to do that!

On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 470 1902
Mob: +64 21 227 5177


John Stulen
Editor, WoodWorks
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

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

Brand Partners

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

We welcome comments and contributions on Friday Offcuts. For details on advertising for positions within the forest products industry or for products and services, either within the weekly newsletter or on this web page, please contact us.

Subscribe! It's Free!
Advertise Here
Copyright 2004-2024 © Innovatek Ltd. All rights reserved