The Australasian Timber Flooring Association (ATFA) is considering a new campaign to address the declining use of Australian timber species in flooring products.

According to the ATFA, use of Australian timber species in flooring has declined by about 60 per cent over the past four years. A solution is urgently needed to arrest this decline and save the timber flooring industry from a fate similar to that suffered by the Australian furniture industry in the late 1990s, which deteriorated beyond critical mass due to lack of industry unity and direction, cheap imports and the economic downturn.

However, the decline in Australian solid timber species flooring production and the complete loss of domestic manufacture of Australian timber species engineered flooring have not seen a commensurate growth in imported products such as engineered flooring, laminate or bamboo flooring. Bamboo flooring sales, for instance, have risen from 5 per cent to 15 per cent over the past four years but are nowhere near the 60 per cent loss suffered by the Australian timber species segment.

This can only mean that spending has reduced considerably, and even those that are spending on flooring are not considering Australian timber.

ATFA’s campaign proposes to address this issue by building awareness and demand for Australian timber, so that all products including laminate, bamboo and imported engineered flooring products can compete in an informed marketplace based on their respective attributes and price points.

Typically, a downturn in building approvals sees a corresponding decline in Australian timber species flooring production; however, the decline in this flooring segment has continued even with a return to healthy building approvals in recent times.

ATFA believes a proactive approach is required to promote Australian timber species flooring to take advantage of a thriving building market. At the ATFA Board meeting in December 2014, members agreed on the need for the association to utilise its resources and drive a plan to re-energise the industry to one of health and vibrancy.

The Board proposed that a joint campaign be developed to mobilise invested time and commitment from all relevant Australian timber flooring producers, supported strongly by coatings and adhesives companies as well as equipment sellers and timber flooring contractors who rely on the success of the timber flooring industry.

ATFA seeks feedback and/or contribution to this initiative from association members.