Australia facing timber shortage amid home-renovation boom – UW GROUP

Australia facing timber shortage amid home-renovation boom

Australia is in the midst of a critical timber shortage due to a surge in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic on the back of devastating bushfires.The shortage is causing timber prices to skyrocket, prompting calls for the Federal Government to review its HomeBuilder program.With COVID-19 travel restrictions forcing Aussie families to postpone holiday plans, many have decided to use the spare cash on home rebuilds, making timber a rare and expensive commodity.

Owner of Blacktown Building Supplies, Phillip Screpis, said he has had to order timber from Russia to meet the demand.”I am saying more no’s than yes’ because of supply. It’s pointless for me to say yes I can do this but I can’t supply you for another three or four months,” Mr Screpis said.”At the moment when push comes to shove… what do you do?”

Contributing to the shortage is the Federal Government’s HomeBuilder scheme which provides grants up to $25,000 to build a new home provided construction begins within six months.

There are now growing concerns recipients will be unable to access building materials in time to meet the requirements of the grant.Alternatively, the grant could be soaked up in the excess cost of acquiring timber.”There’s a real risk that a lot of people will miss out on the grant, because they can’t start construction in the next six months,” Labor MP Jason Clare said.The black summer bushfires delivered a blow to Australia’s hardwood and softwood supplies – forcing many builders to source timber from overseas.

Prices in the United States have risen close to 200 per cent, which is now having a major flow on effect for Aussies trying to import timber from overseas.”Probably eight months ago you were looking when you brought in a container from overseas it would cost about $300US. Now it’s $9000US and upwards,” Mr Screpis- said.Applications for the HomeBuilder program have closed and at this stage changes will not be made. 


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