AKD IRREWARRA RESTART FOLLOWS RISE IN
HOUSE CONSTRUCTION, RENOVATION LEVELS
INCREASING DOMESTIC SUPPLY AND OPENING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
AKD team members at Colac push the message… Suzanne Ford, Kate Lang, Abbey Kerr, Alyssa Howard, and Rosie Barrow.
AKD will recommence operations at its Irrewarra sawmilling site in south western Victoria in a strategy providing more Australian-produced timber for customers and greater employment opportunities in the Colac region.
In May because of Covid-19, the business made the decision to idle its Irrewarra sawmill in a pre-emptive move to flex AKD production in anticipation of reduced market demand.
“The decision was extremely difficult for the AKD team and we are very pleased to be able to restart the mill in October which offers 25 new employment opportunities for the Colac community,” CEO Shane Vicary said.
“The changes we made in May were to ensure our business production levels aligned with projected softening demand,” he said. “However the federal government’s Home Building Stimulus Package ‘HomeBuilder’ announced in June was truly effective and created immediate and substantial demand.
“This has resulted in new house construction activity levels remaining resiliently strong combining with solid activity in ‘additions and alterations’ and the consequence of better-than-expected demand for timber products, giving AKD the opportunity to re-start the Irrewarra sawmill.”
AKD are noting that customers increasingly prefer domestic supply and there is market speculation of a substantial reduction in the amount of timber being imported into Australia. This has combined to give AKD the confidence to restart Irrewarra to produce more timber as key customers look for supply security for the long term.
In addition, AKD will be able to develop new customer relationships with Australian-grown and processed timber and continue sourcing the logs that used to supply the sawmill.
“While the signs are positive now, we do not make this decision lightly and will continue to work with customers who value supply security, so that we can provide employment security for the AKD team, and continued confidence to our log suppliers,” Mr Vicary said.
This follows the Caboolture sawmill restart in September and the announcement to double the Caboolture sawmill production over the coming 18 months.
This year in particular has required all Australian manufacturing businesses with uncertain demand to be more agile in their operating postures. AKD has worked closely and openly with their employees to have the flexibility required in unprecedented times and they have demonstrated how local supply can be more flexible and responsive to the Australian market. AKD is an active sponsor and supporter of the Australian Forest Products Association initiative ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’.