Waiting for answers

While the state government and opposition continue to debate the state’s timber supply issues, local sawmill operator Luke Morgan says he just wants some decisions made.

Mr Morgan is waiting on a state government decision on both the Forestry Transport Assistance Scheme and expression of interest (EOI) for a share in up to $2 million to increase the amount of log manufactured into structural timber for the state’s home building sector.

With 80 per cent of his log supply ‘cut’ since the beginning of last month due to an unsuccessful tender for log from Mount Lofty, Mr Morgan said he was holding out for transport assistance to be able to access burned log from Kangaroo Island (KI) at a subsidised rate.

“The longer we wait, the less wood we will get because the wood will be lost,” he said.

“It’s been almost two years since the KI fires – the time frame for the tree doesn’t change, we’re on a short timeframe to be able to successfully use that log – so almost two years has passed for the badly burned log, and then we move on to the category two and category one log.

“It’s hard to understand why such a relatively simple task is taking so long to be negotiated.

“I’d like to know what the issues are and if we can help work through those issues.

“At this stage I don’t even know if the transport subsidy is going to happen or not.

“I’m now in desperate need of log to keep the mill going.

“If we can get the freight subsidy it will be a win win – I’ll be able to keep the mill going and supply the South Australian building industry with timber.”

Mr Morgan said he had put in a submission as part of the state government’s EOI, hoping he could tap into it (with a consortium) for the development of a new mill at Dublin that would be suitable for the processing of timber for the housing industry.

Mr Morgan said his submission was due a fortnight ago, and had been expecting an announcement on successful applicants.

“I just want to get some answers and get on with running my business, employing people and supplying SA businesses,” he said.