More than 20 lenders from ANZ, NAB, Westpac, BOQ and CBA recently toured key forestry sites in the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland. Organised by Linx Australia Group, in partnership with the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA), the tour showcased a variety of commercial operating sites, providing the lenders with the opportunity to learn more about the industry.
Held over two days in September, the representatives of the financial institutions were able to witness the diversity and complexity of commercial harvesting operations at a range of sites, such as the flat thinning operations of AusTimber, and the steep shovel and cable harvesting sites of Mountain Logging and ANC Forestry. This allowed them to experience, and appreciate firsthand, the wide range of equipment required to deal with the tough and extreme conditions that these sites operate under.
The attendees were also privileged to have the Latrobe City Mayor, Cr Dale Harriman, and Cr Sandy Kam, at a special dinner to conclude the first day. As guest speaker, Mayor Harriman expressed how valuable the forestry industry is to the region and advocated his mission to promote it as a renewable and sustainable resource, via the council’s Wood Encouragement Policy.
Linx Australia Group also arranged for the lenders to visit HVP Plantations, Australian Paper’s Maryvale Mill and the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods mill in Heyfield. Here, the sustainable practices and value adding products within the timber industry were demonstrated.
At the completion of the two day event, having gained an extensive understanding of the timber industry, the representatives of the major banks felt very encouraged about the future economic outlook for the industry, whilst reflecting an enhanced perception of its sustainable and environmentally sound practices. Subsequently, Linx has noticed significant uplift in lenders attitudes in this very capital intensive industry.
The participants were also reminded that the Latrobe City will be hosting AUSTimber 2016 in April next year, of which Linx Australia Group will be a major sponsor. AUSTimber is the largest forestry and timber show in the southern hemisphere and will next year showcase the latest in technology, machinery, products and services for the industry. It is the world’s only combined softwood and hardwood plantation expo (which will be held at Flynn Creek), and provides a great opportunity for members of the forestry and finance sectors to discuss future projects.
The Traralgon Showgrounds site will have marquee and hall sites for exhibiting and demonstrating the latest developments in timber processing equipment, systems and connectors for pre-fabrication manufacturers, displays of timber and panel products and treatments for designers, wood-working equipment for smaller scale operators.