Hyne Timber recently welcomed several dignitaries to their Tumbarumba Mill for discussions on the way forward following the recent bushfires in the region.

Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, NSW Member for Albury, Justin Clancy MP, Snowy Valleys Mayor, James Hayes and Deputy Mayor John Larter visited the Tumbarumba Mill earlier this month to further understand the impact of the bushfires on the softwood industry.

The Tumbarumba Mill supplies timber to one in four new homes across the NSW market and beyond, supporting local jobs along the way. The Mill processes 7500 harvested plantation pine logs each day, resulting in daily structural framing volumes that would stretch from Tumbarumba to Melbourne. About 150 trucks move in and out each day, directly supplying to over 400 different customer sites; additionally, 1400 shipping containers of non-structural grade timber are exported to 5 different countries.

The industry supply chain supports approximately 5000 jobs in the South West Slopes region and adds $2 billion per year to the South West Slopes economy alone.

Hyne Timber CEO Jon Kleinschmidt said the visit was focussed on the short and long-term challenges ahead, given that over 50,000 hectares of pine plantation were fire impacted in NSW alone.

“While the full extent of fire impact and salvageability timeframes remain unknown, what we do know is full recovery will take many years.

“Until plantations are re-established in 20-30 years’ time, interim solutions for viable log supply are required with the support of all levels of government.

“This includes prioritising all pine plantations for domestic processing over export, freight equalisation for Australian processors, and dedicated recovery coordination covering the short-term salvage and the longer-term issues of replanting and wood flow management,” Kleinschmidt said.

Hyne Timber is a privately owned Australian company established in 1882, and employing 630 people nationally including 230 at the Tumbarumba Mill.

“We remain committed to the long journey to recovery and value the ongoing critical Government support as we work to find solutions to secure pine log supply through challenging times,” Kleinschmidt concluded.

The dignitaries’ visit to the Mill included a tour of the new $3.7M investment in seven robots to stack timber into packs. This area previously had high vacancy rates and the highest risk of manual handling injuries. While the robots themselves came from Japan, most of the installation investment (over $3M) was awarded to Australian suppliers.

Six existing team members are being professionally trained to operate the robots while others who previously worked in this area are being reassigned to other parts of the Mill.