A PLAN to move away from native logged timber to plantation timber is driving Victoria’s newest timber mill.
A Plan to move away from native logged timber to plantation timber is driving Victoria’s newest timber mill.
Radial Timbers will officially open a new $5 million timber mill at Yarram in South Gippsland today, employing 15 full-time workers.
The mill, which processes timber for decks and cladding on houses, has a VicForests contract to process native logged timber until 2027.
That, according to the owners, should allow enough time to produce plantation trees for processing.
“We’re not greenies, and we’re not rednecks, we’re in between,” Radial Timber’s managing director Chris McEvoy said of the business’s plan to move from native logging to plantation timber.
Mr McEvoy said he said he saw “the writing on the wall” for native timber processing years ago and set up the mill to use plantation timber.
The company had about 2000ha of 12-year-old plantation that would need at least 20 years for harvesting. .
Mr McEvoy said the Yarram deal with VicForests — to supply up to 12,000 cubic metres of timber a year — was signed off just before the Victorian election in 2014.
The owners of the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods timber mill at Heyfield, expected to close later this year due to a lack of timber, had criticised the former Victorian Government for not signing off on a long-term supply contract before the election — a point Nationals leader Peter Walsh disputes.
Meanwhile, Radial Timber believes it is the only commercial mill in the world using a radial saw. “We can cut the logs like a cake or a pizza, making for a much more reliable, stable resource,” Mr McEvoy said.
Radial Timbers received a $1.5 million Next Generation Manufacturing Grant from the Federal Government.