The Honourable Leanne Donaldson, Queensland’s new Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries toured the Tuan Mill premises of Hyne Timber recently.

Hyne Timber’s Tuan Mill, located just outside of Maryborough, is one of Australia’s largest, contemporary sawmilling operations, processing over 750,000m³ of plantation softwood each year.

Hosted by CEO Jon Kleinschmidt and Manufacturing Manager Chris Skeels-Piggins, the Minister used the time to learn about Australia’s largest, privately owned timber manufacturing company and its significant contribution within the timber and forest products industry.

Describing her debut tour as a valuable insight into the timber manufacturing industry, Minister Donaldson observed that Queensland's forest products industry indirectly employed almost 30,000 people, predominantly in regional and remote areas and Hyne Timber, as a major employer, was an important part of it. The Minister was fascinated to learn that the Tuan Mill produced enough timber every day to stretch from her electorate office in Bundaberg to Parliament House in Brisbane.

Minister Donaldson added that she will continue to work to promote competitive growth and job opportunities in Queensland's food and fibre industries.

CEO Jon Kleinschmidt said that the Minister’s visit was timely and appreciated not only by Hyne Timber, but the broader forest products industry. Speaking on the issues being faced by the industry, he said Australian plantation forests needed to be expanded within the areas of forest operations in order for the industry to stay competitive.

Given that the Federal Government aims to reduce Australia’s carbon emissions by 2030, an additional 30,000 hectares of plantation pine per year would not only assist with the future of the Australian timber manufacturing industry employment, but would also exceed the Government’s carbon goals by capturing an additional five million tonnes of carbon per annum. However, the ideal land availability and investment incentive to plant more trees require government support.

Mr Kleinschmidt said Australian plantation forests currently occupy less than 0.5% of all agricultural land in Australia and only 2.6% of the agricultural land identified as being within an ideal forest industry region. This needs to be increased to support the long term viability and competitiveness of Australian timber manufacturing and the associated employment, environment and investment opportunities.