Timber Industry: Kangaroo Island Wharf

Thursday June 24, 2021

Mr BELL (Mount Gambier) (15:16): My question is to the minister for forestry. Does the minister support the application by Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers for a wharf to be built on Kangaroo Island?


The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM (Finniss—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (15:16): I thank the member for his question. Certainly, we are looking at every opportunity as to how we might be able to get timber off Kangaroo Island. It's certainly a big challenge that's sitting there. There is a lot of timber that has a limited life now that it has been burnt that we have to deal with, so it's something that we are working on with KIPT, plus the private growers themselves on the island, as well as being in conversations with other mills on the mainland, etc., as well as the federal government. As mentioned yesterday, there have been discussions with the federal government about what we can do in this space to see whether there is an opportunity to get that timber off.

There is urgency in getting that timber off and the opportunity to get that timber off is limited in the short term by how we can actually do it. My understanding is that, in the short term, to be able to achieve it, there are time lines to deliver structural timber to the South Australian community but also to make sure we are able to use the timber that has been damaged in this process. We are very limited in what we can do.

Trucks onto the ferry is the simplest option and we are having conversations with the federal government on whether they are prepared to assist in that movement. There are also other options that could be in place—where timber is carted into Kingscote itself—to have a look at whether there are options of barging that timber off to different locations to get that processed. So the issue is still very much alive. It's very much a conversation that we are having, to look at these options to see whether there is an opportunity.

This timber, as I said, has a very limited time line in its ability to be processed—a maximum of 10 years once the timber has been burnt before it can be processed, and that's only if it has been submerged. We are working through this to see what opportunities there are, particularly in the next 12 months, as there is huge demand right across Australia for structural timber. There is an opportunity for us, working with the federal government, to make sure that we can get this timber to market so that we are able to see not just the benefit to the timber being processed but—

The Hon. L.W.K. Bignell interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Mawson is warned for a second time.

The Hon. D.K.B. BASHAM: We are making sure that we get that timber off in a timely manner so that we can process it and get that timber back into the market so there is an opportunity for jobs to be maintained going forward. The building industry needs this timber, so we are working on it to make sure that we can—

Mr BELL: Point of order.

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The member for Mount Gambier rises on a point of order.

Mr BELL: Relevance, sir. The question was specifically whether or not the minister supported the building of a wharf. I understand there is some relation to burnt timber, but that is not the point of the question. The point of the question was whether the minister himself actually supported the building of a wharf.

The SPEAKER: The point of order is pursuant to standing order 98. I note the question was directed more specifically to the matter of the wharf. In the context of timber transport, the minister was addressing the broader circumstances. I do direct the minister to the specific question. The minister has the call. I think the minister has concluded his answer.