Labor fears NSW timber shortage will put more jobs at stake

Paul Scully, Sam Furfaro, Michael Furfaro and Yasmin Catley at Mitre 10 Kemps Creek. Picture: Supplied
Paul Scully, Sam Furfaro, Michael Furfaro and Yasmin Catley at Mitre 10 Kemps Creek. Picture: Supplied

Timber retailers in western Sydney have been forced to turn away major customers due to an ongoing timber shortage.

Kemps Creek timber yard operator Michael Furfaro said the shortage could have a huge impact on her business.

"If the lack of timber stock is allowed to continue we will see the closure of businesses, loss of jobs, increased debt and further financial hardship," he said.

"For the past 12 weeks we have been having major issues supplying our customers with timber and associated items.

"We are now constantly turning our valued customers away. Hours of phone calls are being wasted calling suppliers to practically beg for stock."

Now NSW Labor is calling for government action to prevent an economic catastrophe as retailers across western Sydney struggle to supply construction timbers to major building companies.

Labor's Deputy Leader and opposition spokeswoman for jobs Yasmin Catley said that the shortage of timber for the domestic construction industry puts "thousands of jobs at risk" and could prevent the promised economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession.

"The Government needs to step in here and provide a solution. This industry is crucial to our economic recovery, but they've been left swinging in the breeze," Ms Catley said.

Opposition spokesman for natural resources Paul Scully said the lack of timber stock was having a flow on effect to other trades in the building industry and causing further financial hardship as construction activity is delayed and costs rise.

"With timber mills under pressure due to COVID-19, the impact of fires on our forestry sector, and international competition for what stock remains available, our local timber needs simply aren't being met," he said.

"For the past 12 months we have been urging the NSW Government to come up with a timber industry plan that provides long term certainty and an immediate fix to the problems local businesses are having securing stock," Mr Scully said.

"They ignored the issue and now we have supply problems and ultimately jobs at risk."