Designed to realise the economic value of Tasmania’s southern certified plantation forests and stimulate growth in the State’s economy, Southwood Fibre has announced a much needed $42 million investment into wood fibre processing in the south of the State.
The proposal is projected to generate 135 jobs during construction and support 145 jobs once operational, whilst injecting over $100 million in additional value to the local economy during construction, with $55 million generated annually once operational.
Currently, export bulk wood products from the south of Tasmania sees material freighted to the State’s northern export facility at Bell Bay, where the product is processed and then shipped to export markets. This requires expensive Government subsidies and lengthy transport on public highways.
Southwood Fibre will process certified plantation forests at the Southwood integrated timber processing facility (figure 1) for transport to a purpose built single use loading facility at Strathblane, where it will be packed into vessels for direct export.
The proposal avoids the transportation of wood on major public roads or past residential property, thus reducing much of the concern regarding the transport of wood products on public highways.
Only product that is certified to the Australian Forestry Standard and/or the Forest Stewardship Council requirements will be exported. This project is plantation forest based and focused on revitalising the viability of the plantation sector in the region. This project represents a new era in plantation development in Tasmania’s south.
Once approved, the development will have a substantial positive impact on the economy of southern Tasmania, by utilising the many thousands of tonnes of plantation forests.
Figure 1: Southwood Processing Facility
These forests were planted under the now failed managed investment schemes, and have not been financially viable to harvest since the closure of the export facility at Triabunna due to high transportation costs.
A KPMG report has estimated that during construction some 135 jobs will be created. Once operating 145 jobs are anticipated to be supported as well as considerable other economic impacts as a flow-on effect from extra economic activity in the region.
In addition the report found some $55 million will be generated once the facility is up and running, providing a major direct financial injection into a region where many forestry related jobs have been lost.
The development is currently being funded and developed by Southwood Fibre Pty Ltd, which is owned by the Neville-Smith group. There is no government financial assistance involved.
The Neville-Smith group have been invested in the forestry sector in Tasmania since 1924 and are a proud family group that is passionate about all things forestry.
The opportunity for broad based employment growth in southern Tasmania in this renewable sector is reliant on the successful deployment of processing and loading infrastructure as outlined in this new project.
This project represents a significant investment into Tasmania’s beautiful Huon Valley and will be a boost for jobs and the local economy.
Southwood Fibre are very much looking forward to the development of this project.
As a group Neville-Smith Forest Products employ over 100 people across 4 operations, processing certified wood products from the Huon Valley, Bell Bay, Launceston and certified whole log exports from Hobart Port.