The day of the chippie

In what might at first be seen as an ironic proposition, the organisers said this first National Carpenters Day – April 21 – was about recognising the contribution of carpenters in producing a positive environmental impact.The National Housing Supply Council estimates that Australia needs more than 3 million additional dwellings by 2028, and the Nation Building and Jobs Plan is designed to address the predicted shortfall of 431,000 dwellings.By choosing wood and timber products where possible in the construction of these 3 million houses, the NHSC said emissions equivalent to about 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be saved in Australia.National Carpenters Day spokesperson Ric Sinclair said the federal government’s $6.4 billion boost to public and community housing as part of the Nation Building plan was good news for the building sector, and carpenters were keen to reap the benefits.Sinclair said the investment would significantly benefit the thousands of carpentry businesses across Australia, and because carpenters worked with wood, the industry also offered significant environmental benefits.“Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That carbon is stored in wood and stays there, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the dry weight of a wood product,” Sinclair said.He said the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics research demonstrated how important the government’s package would be to carpenters and the building industry as a whole.“ABS statistics show that while sales of new homes increased by 3.9 per cent in February 2009 – fuelled by the First Home Owners Grant – housing starts fell by 10 per cent in the December 2008 quarter, and lending for investment in new residential construction was also down 12 per cent compared to the three months to February 2008,” Sinclair said. “Carpenters will be heartened to know that the Nation Building and Jobs Plan will provide them with much-needed work.”

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