Continued consolidation in wood processing sector

​8 July 2014

A detailed snapshot of the Australian wood processing industry is now available following the release of the National Wood Processing Survey 2012-13 report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

ABARES Executive Director, Karen Schneider, said the survey— jointly funded by ABARES and Forest and Wood Products Australia—provides an up-to-date look at the production and composition of Australia's wood processing sector.

Ms Schneider said structural adjustments in the wood processing industry have continued since the 2006–07 and 2010–11 surveys through further consolidation of the sawmilling industry.

ABARES estimates that Australia had 200 hardwood and 81 softwood sawmills (comprising 61 sawmills based on the softwood plantation resource and 20 cypress pine sawmills) in 2012–13.

“Since 2006–07 there has been a significant fall in the number of sawmills in Australia, with hardwood sawmills falling by 60 per cent and softwood sawmills by 25 per cent,” Ms Schneider said.

“The volume of hardwood and softwood logs harvested had decreased by 38 per cent and 16 per cent respectively over the same period.

“Over the past decade, the domestic softwood sawmill industry has become significantly more capital intensive and larger in scale, which has limited the reductions in total log processing despite the decline in mill numbers.

“We estimate around 10 million cubic metres of sawlogs were processed during 2012-13, of which hardwood sawlogs comprised 1.9 million cubic metres, and softwood sawlogs around 8 million cubic metres.

“A significant majority of wood processing facilities in Australia are wholly Australian owned and operated, with around five per cent of facilities partially or wholly owned by New Zealand, the United States and other foreign investors.”

For a copy of ABARES National Wood Processing Survey 2012-13 report visit www.abares.gov.au/publications

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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