Forestry industry to create 234 jobs on Kangaroo Island

The forestry industry will create 234 jobs on KI and contribute more than $41 million to its economy annually, according to an economic impact report prepared by EconSearch.

A comparison with other agriculture on KI shows plantation forestry will generate a three-times greater return, more than double the number of jobs, and more than three times the household income per hectare.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (KIPT) commissioned EconSearch to assess the economic impact of the proposed Smith Bay deep-water wharf on the KI, SA and national economies.

This report will be available as part of the company’s Environmental Impact Statement, being prepared now, and will be released for public consultation.

The report says forestry will create 163 direct jobs and 71 indirect jobs on KI, and that while KI has lower unemployment than the rest of SA, it also has a lower average income, a steeper decline in school enrolments, lower building approvals and its population is ageing more quickly.

The total value of KI exports in 2015-16 was $302 million, of which tourism represents $110 million (36 per cent). Agriculture exports were worth $106 million and fishing and aquaculture were worth $12 million.

Forestry will contribute about $60 million in exports.

“There are just under 100 people who are unemployed on KI, and given the high labour force participation rates it is likely that many of the jobs created will be taken by people currently not living on KI,” Mr Sergeant said.

It is likely that at least 60 per cent of the jobs (140 FTE) will go to people who will move to KI, which assuming an average household size of 2.4 persons, means an increase in population of around 336, the report says.

“A strong benefit of jobs in the forestry industry is that they will not be seasonal like tourism and agriculture, which will improve the resilience of the local economy,” Mr Sergeant said.

“The indirect jobs will be spread over a wide range of industries, creating demand for housing, improving the ratepayer base and providing participants for sports clubs and volunteer organisations,” Mr Sergeant said.

Jobs will range from tree-planting, forest and road maintenance to harvesting teams, transport, logistics, administration and materials handling, accounting, payroll, IT and environmental management.

The construction phase for the Smith Bay wharf is expected to create 22 jobs on KI and 89 total in SA.