Australia’s forestry sector demonstrated strong growth in 2014-15, thanks to robust residential building activity and increased exports. Total housing starts increased by 18% to 214,000 units while log harvest rose by over 10% to more than $2 billion for the first time, according to the latest statistical report released by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
“Housing activity was the basis for stronger domestic demand for wood products,” said ABARES executive director, Karen Schneider. “This is the highest level of dwelling commencements recorded in Australia, and the strong residential building activity has continued into the second-half of 2015.”
She added, “This activity supported demand for Australian wood products in 2014–15, leading to sawnwood production increasing by 6% and wood-based panel production increasing by 7%.”
Wood product exports have also grown. The value of exports increased by 10% to $2.8 billion in 2014–15, led by a 24% increase in woodchips.
This growth continued in the second-half of 2015, with the value of exports increasing by 16% compared with 2014. This was supported by an increase in exports of roundwood logs, woodchips and miscellaneous forest products.
“Activity in Australia’s forestry sector remains contingent on key markets, such as housing and international trade. Developments in these sectors will determine whether this recent strength is sustained.”