Timberlink has approved an AU$100 million upgrade program to its Australian sawmills. This generational investment will see the total processing capacity of the Australasian sawmilling company increase by more than 15%. The investment will secure more than 1350 direct and indirect jobs in regional Australia for years to come while supporting the residential housing sector with increased timber supply.
Timberlink’s chairman and CEO of investment management firm New Forests, David Brand, expressed his support for the mill upgrade program. “This is a substantial re-investment in the Timberlink mill facilities and continues to demonstrate the strong recovery of the Australian forestry sector under institutional investor ownership,” he said.
“Timberlink has become a leading wood products business, and I expect it will continue to innovate and grow, creating new manufacturing jobs in regional areas, while increasing the supply of timber in Australia.”
A total of 290 additional jobs are anticipated during the construction phase of the AU$100 million program. In Tarpeena, South Australia, the investment will lead to the installation of a completely new saw line, stacker and edger, all with the latest leading-edge technology, coupled with additional contraflow and batch kilns for drying timber. Major site infrastructure changes including upgrades to roads and storage facilities will also be undertaken.
At Timberlink’s Bell Bay site in Tasmania, new planer mill equipment will be installed along with a state-of-the-art contraflow kiln. Site infrastructure will be improved, including a new internal road system designed to improve safety outcomes and support the increase in site activity.
The AU$100 million investment program will take place in stages over the next three years and will build on previous capex investments that have taken place in both mills over the past five years. Timberlink will continue discussions with the Tasmanian, South Australian, and Federal Governments, seeking their funding support for further enhancements related to these business expansion programs.
“This is a great day for Australian manufacturing,” Timberlink CEO, Ian Tyson said. “We are ensuring that all aspects of the business are internationally competitive to secure our long- term future, and this significant investment will secure Timberlink’s position as one of Australasia’s leading softwood sawmillers.
“Our integrated business model allows us to optimise and guarantee our supply from the forest all the way to our customer’s door, and at its core, this program is about increasing and securing that supply of timber.”
The new capital also enables the ongoing investment in training and upskilling of Timberlink’s employees. With 87% of their workforce living in regional areas, these investments build stronger local economies that can support regional communities. Due to careful planning, the sawmills will be able to continue to operate normally during the building process. This will ensure that the supply of timber to customers will continue as usual.