Council joins timber-first push

In February 7, 2017

ANOTHER Queensland council has implemented a timber-first policy as part of an industry push for its products to be used on more building projects.

Gympie Regional Council passed a motion to preference timber products before considering other construction materials at the weekly meeting today.

Mayor Mick Curran said there were timber products now available that were comparable to concrete, which would be suitable to replace the approximate 82 wooden bridges in the region.

“Historically, when (the wooden bridges) come up for replacement, it’s usually concrete products used,” Cr Curran said.

“But there’s certainly some wonderful timber products out there, including soft wood laminated products now that would be suitable for the construction of timber bridges.”

Cr Curran admitted the motion was mainly symbolic but said the initiative was about promoting an important industry that accounted for about 3.5 per cent of the region’s employment.

“Anything we can do to certainly validate and promote timber and its use is of benefit to us,” Cr Curran said.

Gympie is the second council area to pass a motion promoting timber after Fraser Coast passed a similar one last week following presentations from Timber Queensland, which has been working with Planet Ark to promote the use of the product as a way reduce the carbon footprint.

Victoria’s Latrobe City Council was the first in Australia to introduce a wood encouragement when councillors passed a motion in 2014. It’s understood about six Australian councils now have one.

Timber Queensland has now stepped up efforts to lobby the State Government to introduce a timber-first policy for areas including public works and state development.

Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens said he was pleased to see the policy was strongly supported by Gympie Regional Council.

“Coming on the back of the Fraser Coast Council’s adoption of Queensland’s first local wood encouragement policy only last week, we believe this will help pave the way for other councils and indeed the State Government to adopt similar policies into the future,” Mr Stephens said.

Timber Queensland figures indicate at least 100,000ha of “new sawlog plantations need to be planted in Queensland” to meet a growing demand for the product. If this fails to happen, Queensland will only be able to supply 75 per cent of the state’s timber needs.

Council joins timber-first push by Tom Snowdon, The Courier-Mail.  Available from <> [January 25, 2017 3:19pm]