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Ian Smith

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development

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A vibrant and expanding export industry

A vibrant and expanding export industry

Image credit: Department of Primary Industries

NSW has a vibrant forestry sector.

The gross value of logs harvested in 2017-18 was estimated to be A$544 million and industry value added was estimated at A$2.5 billion. A total of 22,381 people are employed in NSW in forestry and logging and associated manufacturing – many in Regional NSW.

NSW’s softwoods provide the most significant opportunity for investment, valued at A$393 million, while in 2018 the native forestry subsector is valued at A$496 million.

NSW had 393,200 hectares of commercial plantations in 2017–18, steady year-on-year. It was the second largest total area of Australia’s states and territories second to Victoria’s 420,600 hectares. NSW has the largest softwood plantation area in Australia at 307,100 hectares. NSW produces nearly one third of Australia’s softwood timber, mostly from plantations of pine species. Demand from Asia, especially China, pushed woodchip prices to record highs, with the price for premium chips beyond $260 per bone-dry tonne.

NSW has around 63 hardwood and 13 softwood mills, processing more than 5.6 million cubic metres of sawlogs every year.

As well as significant domestic demand, international demand for NSW forestry products has grown rapidly, to be further boosted by recent Free Trade Agreements with Asia. Investment in plantation forests is needed to meet future industry demand from the wood and paper processing industries.

Value of softwood harvested (A$ m)
  • New South Wales
  • Australia

Chart showing the Australian forest and wood products statistics

Chart showing the Australian forest and wood products statistics

Source: KPMG analysis of Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018, Australian Forest and Wood Products Statistics

Government support for the forestry sector in Regional NSW

Guided by its Forestry Industry Roadmap, the NSW Government provides a range of support for forestry operators throughout the state.

The Australian government also has programs to facilitate investment and improve business operations. 

The NSW Government will invest a historic A$71.8 million in forestry over four years to support innovative, sustainable, thriving forestry.

For more details, visit the assistance page.

Summary of the Australian forestry industry
  2017-18 5 Year CAGR
Export 3.6 7.0%
Gross value of log production 2.6 7.7%
Hardwood (A$ billion) 1.2 8.5%
Softwood (A$ billion) 1.4 7.0%

Source: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018, Australian forest and wood products statistics: September & December quarters 2018

Softwood Plantation Area ('000 ha)
  2017-18 5 Year CAGR
Australia ('000ha) 1,037 0.3%
NSW ('000 ha) 307.1 0.6%
Top export destination - China 1.7 25.1%

Source: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018,  Australian forest and wood products statistics: September & December quarters 2018

Softwood statistics over the period 2013-14 to 2017-18
$A million 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
New South Wales 317.1 344.8 343.5 373.6 393
Australia 1018 1064 1194 1373 1426

Source: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018,  Australian forest and wood products statistics: September & December quarters 2018


Source: Department of Primary Industries 2019
Government support for the forestry sector in Regional NSW

Major forestry companies that have already chosen Regional NSW

Success stories in the Regional NSW forestry sector

Get in touch

Ian Smith

Director, NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Office contacts
Suite 1, Level 1
47-59 Wingewarra Street
DUBBO NSW 2830
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