Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss and Federal Minister for Agriculture, the Honourable Barnaby Joyce recently visited Hyne Timber’s Tuan Mill near Maryborough in the Wide Bay Region.

One of Hyne Timber’s flagship operations, the Tuan Mill is one of Australia’s largest sawmilling plants, processing over 750,000m³ of plantation softwood each year. Director Chris Hyne, CEO Jon Kleinschmidt and Manufacturing Manager Chris Skeels-Piggins took the distinguished visitors on a tour of the timber mill.

Hyne Timber Director and fourth generation family owner, Chris Hyne said the Ministerial visit was a very significant event for Hyne Timber and the industry in general. Mr Hyne took the opportunity to discuss a number of matters pertinent to the timber industry with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Agriculture.

He explained that regional employment, timber as a construction material of choice, Australian timber manufacture and competitiveness on a world scale were all interlinked as part of a complex matrix, which meant that these elements needed to be considered as a collective, and not individually to truly ensure a sustainable future.

Mr Hyne underlined the importance of the need for forest plantations to be valued and expanded in order to remain competitive. Forest expansion in areas where the industry was already based would have significant value for the broader economy. Taking the example of the Wide Bay Region, he said that the Tuan forest was the most strategically significant forest resource north of Sydney and its strategic expansion would further support regional development with the associated increased employment opportunities.

Additionally, plantation pine was a natural resource that absorbed carbon from the environment and locked it up. Being renewable and sustainable, it also created continued planting and harvesting employment opportunities.

The Hyne Timber representatives also discussed practices in countries that recognised the environmental benefits of timber construction. Japan, for instance, has developed ‘wood first’ policies and benefits for building with a lower carbon footprint, which could be implemented in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss was impressed with the scale of the mill and its operations, observing that the mill made a significant contribution to the regional economy providing jobs for locals, and $12 million worth of business annually to the Queensland trucking and freight industry.

Mr Truss commented that the timber industry employed over 13,000 people in Queensland alone, mostly in regional areas. He also welcomed detailed discussion regarding the complex integration of the timber products industry, supply chain and broader economic value, and agreed with Mr Hyne that all elements in this integrated industry needed to be considered as a collective for a sustainable future.

Mr Truss thanked Hyne Timber for the opportunity to see the Tuan Mill and for the valuable insight into its operations.