The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) released the ABARES National Wood Processing Survey: 2016–17 report on Thursday 13 June 2019. Although maybe already out of date (it does though provide broad trends over a ten-year period), key findings from the survey include;
ABARES estimates that a total of 299 mills (excluding value-add only) operated in 2016–17, comprising 182 hardwood sawmills, 58 softwood sawmills, 23 wood-based panel mills, 19 post and pole mills and 17 cypress pine sawmills.
The number of sawmills in Australia has decreased significantly since 2006–07, with hardwood sawmills decreasing by 64 per cent and softwood and cypress pine sawmills by 31 per cent. The volume of hardwood and softwood sawlogs harvested for domestic processing has also decreased by 38 per cent and 2 per cent, respectively, over the same period. However, the decline in mill numbers has slowed since 2012–13 and total sawlog processing volumes have increased.
In 2016–17, a total of 10.63 million cubic metres of sawlogs was processed in Australian sawmills, which comprised 1.91 million cubic metres of hardwood sawlogs, 8.58 million cubic metres of softwood sawlogs and 147,000 cubic metres of cypress pine sawlogs.
A total of 4.71 million cubic metres of sawnwood was produced in 2016–17, comprising 742,000 cubic metres of hardwood sawnwood, 3.91 million cubic metres of softwood sawnwood and 57,000 cubic metres of cypress pine sawnwood. In 2016–17 an estimated 280,000 cubic metres of posts and poles and 1.79 million cubic metres of wood-based panels was produced.
An estimated AU$2.48 billion of revenue was generated in 2016–17 from the sale of sawnwood processed in Australia, comprising AU$930 million from hardwood sawnwood sales and AU$1.55 billion from softwood sawnwood sales.
ABARES estimates that Australia’s sawmills and post and pole mills employed 8,029 people in 2016–17, of which around 89 per cent were full-time workers (including managers and owners). Males accounted for around 90 per cent of the workforce. Wood-based panel mills employed a total of 2,390 people in 2016–17.