AN $8.55 million State Government buyback of North Coast hardwood will extend the life of the industry and boost confidence of local operators, says a veteran sawmiller.
The owner of A Notaras & Sons sawmill at South Grafton, Spiro Notaras, praised the move to reduce the harvest of sawlogs until 2023, effectively buying back 50,000 cubic metres of timber allocations for the next nine years.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson announced the agreement on the North Coast to ensure the long-term sustainable supply of timber from the region's forests.
Ms Hodgkinson said the government had acted on the recommendations of the independently chaired Project 2023 Steering Committee.
"This buyback will allow the continued maturing of North Coast forests and has been agreed in negotiations between the Forestry Corporation of NSW and its largest hardwood customer on the North Coast, Boral," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"Our North Coast forests are certified sustainable, but projections show that without this buyback we would have needed to dramatically reduce the volume of timber supplied to industry after 2023 to ensure the forests continue to be healthy and productive."
Mr Notaras agreed, but said a diminishing species mix was making it hard for Boral to maintain its quota.
"They were getting it out of blackbutt plantations, which isn't sustainable," he said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the NSW Government was committed to the long-term sustainability of forests and the industries they support.
"That is why we convened the Project 2023 Steering Committee, independently chaired by Dr John Keniry," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"On the committee's recommendation, we have focused on reducing demand rather than trying to increase supply."