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
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
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.