Council adopts wood preferred policy

WELLINGTON Shire Council will follow its Latrobe City counterpart in adopting a wood encouragement policy.

The policy encourages the use of wood as the preferred material for construction and fit out of council buildings where appropriate.

The focus of the policy is to ensure wood is considered for the initial stages of projects.

Among the goals of the policy are to stimulate sustainable economic development within the Gippsland timber and wood products industry, encourage value adding products and promote the industry as a renewable resource.

The move backs up council’s advocacy of the industry as a member of the National Timber Councils Taskforce and Timber Towns Victoria and its ongoing support to businesses in Wellington Shire, such as Australian Sustainable Hardwood in Heyfield, Hancock Victorian Plantations in Gelliondale and Carter Holt Harvey and Radial Timber in Yarram.

Latrobe City Council adopted a wood encouragement policy in December last year.

The possibility of a policy was discussed during an industry roundtable in June 2014, at which Wellington Shire Council and Wellington forest and wood businesses were represented.

In May, the Municipal Association of Victoria state council meeting endorsed Latrobe’s policy and adopted it as an MAV policy.

It has also been supported at the Gippsland Local Government Network.

Councillor Malcolm Hole said the policy would provide an opportunity to promote the local timber industry.

“Timber plays an important part in our shire,” he said.

“We have a duty of care to protect our industry; this is one of way of doing it.”

Wellington Shire’s sawmill product and other wood product manufacturing industry generates $88.6 million in gross revenue, while forestry and logging generates $44.3 million.

Gippsland has 1.1 million hectares of native state forests which are managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

Of the 100,000ha of private plantation in Gippsland, 52 per cent is in Wellington Shire.