Pulp and Paper Industry

Overview

The pulp and paper industry consists of firms that manufacture pulp, newsprint, paperboard for packaging and sanitary products such as tissues. The industry is a significant contributor to the national economy. Many of the people employed in the pulp and paper industry are based in regional areas, where the industry is often the economic and social focus of those communities.

The Australian pulp and paper industry produces items that are essential to everyday living such as paper and paper products for personal hygiene, paper for packaging applications, and paper for office and general printing, communications, newspapers and magazines. The industry is also a large producer of renewable energy and the major user of recovered paper for recycling.

Sustainability is central to the pulp and paper manufacturing industry. According to the International Council of Forest and Paper Associations, the industry, in cooperation with its upstream and downstream partners, can deliver much of what is needed to address challenges such as:

  • jobs and prosperity in rural areas
  • sustainable forest management that mitigates deforestation and degradation
  • industrial processes that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • sustainable and secure energy supply with biomass
  • optimisation of renewable resources through high levels of recycling
  • technologies and innovation that deliver added value.

Key Statistics

 

June
(Quarter)
2009

June
(Quarter)
2010

June
(Quarter)
2011

June
(Quarter)
2012

June
(Quarter)
2013

Employment (000s)

19.2

18.7

20.1

17.5

13.9

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Company Gross Operating Profits ($m)

$695

$398

$812

$648

$733

Investment ($m)

$771

$453

$322

$437

$434

Exports ($m)

$1,046

$904

$1,096

$1,137

$1,072

Imports ($m)

$3,237

$2,839

$3,052

$2,797

$2,758

 

2007/08

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

Industry Value Added ($m)*

$2,678

$2,394

$2,499

$2,460

$3,142

Source:  Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
* Industry Value Added data is sourced from IBISWorld Industry Reports – Pulp, Paper and Converted Paper Product Manufacturing.
Note: Calendar year company gross operating profits are Department of Industry estimates based on quarterly, seasonally adjusted data.

As of June 2013, the industry employed around 13,900 people. Industry employment has been steadily declining over the last six years: from the June quarter 2009 to December quarter 2013, employment declined from 19,200 to 13,900. Exports have remained steady from 2009 to 2013.

Leading Firms

Industry Associations

Other organisations

Emerging Issues and Opportunities

Emerging issues facing the industry include low levels of R&D by Australia’s pulp and paper companies, increased competition from cheaper imports, the escalating costs of key industry inputs such as energy, and projected shortages in available wood-based fibre.

The industry has highlighted opportunities to address these issues, including strategies to: increase investment and innovation, generate further renewable energy, develop workforce skills, and secure long term fibre resources.

In 2009, the Pulp and Paper Industry Strategy Group (PPISG) was established to conduct a comprehensive review of the industry. The PPISG included key industry stakeholders in Australia. The PPISG report was released on 20 April 2010. For further information about the PPISG please contact pulpandpaper@industry.gov.au

In early 2013, the Australian Government provided $250,000 towards a study that described how the forestry industry in South Australia could develop higher value products.

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