Australia's wood and paper products industries are important components of Australia's primary and secondary industries. They are particularly important in providing economic development and employment in many regions of rural Australia. The industries include hardwood and softwood sawmilling, plywood and panels manufacturing, woodchip production and export, and the pulp and paper industries. In 1999-2000, the value of turnover in the wood and paper products industries was $13.7b, of which wood processing establishments (log sawmilling, timber dressing and other wood product manufacturing) contributed turnover of $8.0b (table 17.3).
Preliminary estimates for 1999-2000 show that total roundwood removed from forests increased by 17% from the 1998-99 level, to 24.0 million cubic metres (table 17.4). The removal of broadleaved wood (primarily from native forests) increased by 21.2% in 1999-2000 to 11.5 million cubic metres, while 13.8% more coniferous wood (mainly from plantations) was removed.
In 1999-2000 the value of exports of forest products totalled $1,576m, of which 41% were woodchips and 31% paper and paperboard products. In that year the value of imports of forest products was $3,797m, of which 53% were paper and paperboard products and 14% sawnwood. This indicates a trade deficit in forest products of $2,221m in 1999-2000. Australia produces 82% of its sawn timber needs, of which native forests provide about 34%, with the balance coming from softwood plantations. Imported sawn timber is mostly Douglas Fir from North America, and Radiata Pine from New Zealand.
The hardwood and softwood sawmilling industries comprise mills of various sizes which process wood into sawn timber and other products such as veneers, mouldings and floorings. The hardwood mills are generally small scale and scattered. The softwood mills are generally larger and more highly integrated with other wood processing facilities. Australia's production of sawn timber increased by 9% in 1999-2000 to 3,937,000 cubic metres (table 16.4), of which 66% was softwood.
Other value added timber products include plywood, wood-based panels and reconstituted wood products. Australian wood-based panels include particleboard, medium density fibreboard, and hardboard made from softwood or hardwood pulp logs, sawmill residues or thinnings.
Pulp and paper mills use roundwood thinnings, low quality logs, harvesting residues and sawmill waste, recycled paper and paperboard to produce a broad range of pulp and paper products. Around a third of domestically consumed paper is imported. The majority of paper products produced domestically are packaging and industrial papers, newsprint, printing and writing papers, and tissue paper. Each requires different inputs and technologies. Recycled paper now contributes about half the fibre used in the production of paper and paperboard.
Woodchips are mainly used in the production of paper and paper products, and the woodchip export industry uses sawmill residues and timber which is unsuitable for sawmilling and not required by the Australian pulp, paper and reconstituted wood products industries. Before the advent of the woodchip export industry, much of this material was left in the forest after logging. Considerable quantities of sawmill waste material, which would otherwise be burnt, are also chipped for local pulpwood-using industries and for export. Up until 1990-91, at least 95% of woodchips exported from Australia had been eucalypt, but since then greater quantities of softwood woodchips have become available from pine plantations. In 1999-2000, 22% of the total value of woodchips exported was from softwood woodchips.
17.3 FOREST AND FOREST PRODUCT INDUSTRIES, Summary of Operations - 1999-00
at 30 June(a)
|Forestry and logging|
|Wood and paper product manufacturing(c) |
| Log sawmilling and timber dressing || || || |
| Log sawmilling |
| Wood chipping |
| Timber resawing and dressing |
| Total |
| Other wood product manufacturing || || || |
| Plywood and veneer manufacturing |
| Fabricated wood manufacturing |
| Wooden structural component manufacturing |
| Wood product manufacturing n.e.c. |
| Total |
| Paper and paper product manufacturing || || || |
| Pulp, paper and paperboard manufacturing |
| Solid paperboard container manufacturing |
| Corrugated paperboard container manufacturing |
| Paper bag and sack manufacturing |
| Paper product manufacturing n.e.c. |
| Total |
| Total wood and paper product manufacturing|
|Total forest and wood and paper products |
|(a) Includes working proprietors. |
(b) Excludes the drawings of working proprietors.
(c) Part of manufacturing industry.
Source: Manufacturing Industry, Australia (8221.0); ABS data available on request, Economic Activity Survey.
17.4 PRODUCTION OF WOOD AND SELECTED WOOD PRODUCTS
|Sawn Australian grown timber || || || || || |
|Hardwood woodchips(a) |
|Railway sleepers |
|Unlaminated particle board(a) |
|Medium density fibreboard |
|Wood pulp(a) |
|Paper and paperboard || || || || || |
|Printing and writing |
|Household and sanitary |
|Packaging and industrial |
|(a) Excludes production of small single establishment management units with fewer than four persons employed, and establishments engaged in non-manufacturing activities but which may carry on, in a minor way, some manufacturing. |
Source: Data available on request, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.