The building and construction industry is at a 20-year high, resulting in a critical shortage of building materials.
Could a federal government initiative to use bushfire-affected softwoods help meet builders' needs in the Manning-Great Lakes?
The Australian Government has announced the Construction Softwood Assistance Program to assist with timber shortages around the country, but are urging states and territories to "act swiftly."
Builders not only across the Mid Coast, but nation wide are struggling for timber supplies, that is known fact.
This is a big problem for regional residential builders, and the answer to the question "will it end anytime soon" is unknown, the national director of Master Builders Australia, Ben Carter said.
"The timber shortage has driven up costs, caused delays and delays cause cashflow problems for residential builders," Mr Carter said.
"There is very little that anyone can do," Mr Carter said.
McNamara's Frames and Trusses who supply timber to a lot of builders around the Manning-Great Lakes, said they have really been affected by the timber shortage.
What is being done about the timber shortage?
Last month, the Australian Government announced the $15.1 million Construction Softwood Assistance Program to assist with the costs of transporting bushfire-affected softwoods to timber mills that have the capacity.
The NSW government, which owns a timber enterprise, has stopped exporting its current timber plantations, according to the National Director of Masters Builders Australia.
READ MORE: Building industry gets much-needed timber
The government assistance program will help with the costs of transporting bushfire-affected softwoods to timber mills that have the capacity to process structural timbers, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) said.
"This will provide vital assistance to businesses impacted by increased demand, global supply chain delays due to COVID-19, and the lasting impacts of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires," Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said.
"We stand ready to work with states and urge them to act swiftly to help us bring bushfire-affected construction timbers to mills with immediate capacity to produce structural timbers," Mr Littleproud said.
What does this mean for our local building industry?
Thegovernment is working with states to identify sources of bushfire-affected wood and mills that are able to process it, the (DAWE) spokesperson told the Manning River Times. The program was announced so "additional timber reaches the building industry as soon as possible."
It was announced on Tuesday, September 21 that Kangaroo Island in South Australia would be the first to receive funding to deliver bushfire-affected softwood to timber mills in the area.
"The program will target timber on Kangaroo Island that could provide enough timber for 10,000 new houses," Mr Littleproud said.
"The building and construction industry is at a 20-year high," Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Jonno Duniam said. "This funding will provide timber where it's needed most and address the time sensitives associated with processing bushfire-salvaged timber."
So the question now is: will the Mid Coast be included in the Federal funded program?
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