TIMBER THEN AND NOW
In 1901 Australian forests gave up 1.1 million cubic metres of sawn or hewn timber. Nearly a century later, our forests produced about three and a half times this amount of sawn wood (3.6 million cubic metres in 1998-99); over the same period Australia's population grew five-fold. More use of timber substitutes such as steel, concrete and plastic can probably explain the disparity.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Queensland (31%), Western Australia (27%) and New South Wales (21%) produced the most timber, but by 1998-99 Victoria was cutting 25% and New South Wales 24%; Queensland dropped its share to 21%.
One hundred years ago, Australia was a net importer of timber and timber products. In 1901 Australia imported timber and timber products to the value of about $130m in today's terms, while exports then would be valued at about $60m now. In 1998-99 Australia was still a net importer, in broadly similar proportions; the value of exports of timber and timber products ($1.3b) was about 40% that of imports ($3.3b).
This page last updated 3 October 2007