Slacks in effort to get policy changed

Brendan Euler, Slacks Hardwood girder cutter pictured with this 9.5 metre octagonal bridge girder.
Brendan Euler, Slacks Hardwood girder cutter pictured with this 9.5 metre octagonal bridge girder.

THE North Burnett could face a shortage of traditional bridge building materials if the State Government doesn't change policy to allow for harvesting of timber girders.

That was the message from Slacks Hardwood Milling representative Sam Slack who called for the policy change at a meeting with government representatives in Maryborough recently.

Also at the meeting were North Burnett Regional Council mayor Rachel Chambers and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries director general Dr Beth Woods.

The girders are used in the construction of bridges.

Cr Chambers said the girders are an important construction element in the Burnett region.

"Girders are an invaluable resource to our community,” she said.

"Our bridges and many of our heritage listed structures depend on their availability into the future.”

Cr Chambers said she was supportive of the Slack family lobbying the State Government for change.

"To me, the Slacks' argument to retain girders within the forestry system makes perfect sense on many levels and I am optimistic that the State Government can find a way to navigate towards this outcome,” she said.

Mr Slack said if the current policy is not altered, the stockpile of timber girders would soon disappear.

"If no action is taken now they could run out in approximately eight years and it wouldn't be for another 70 years or so until there's big enough trees to make girders,” he said.

Mr Slack said the government needed to take action and select suitable trees to retain for girders into the future.

"If we run out of girders our business will be affected as no girders means no employment and part of our business would be gone,” he said.

Mr Slack said the discussion at the Maryborough went well and he and is looking forward to working with the State Government on a solution.

Slack's Hardwood supplies timber girders to Queensland Rail and the Queensland Transport of Main Roads and Mr Slack predicted dire consequences if the policy isn't resolved.

"It's very important for the North Burnett as there's a few bridges around, and if there's not a supplier of girders for the railways or the bridges then bridges would immediately need to be replaced with something else,” he said.

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