I went down to see Terry at Aussie BBQ Smoke today and picked up 7 bags of red gum lump for $40/bag. He said that mallee root is just about impossible to buy and is expensive if you can find any and would probably cost around $50-60/bag He reckons they've just about exhausted the supply and there's nothing left to burn which could be partly due to new regulations.
Anyway, he sells to lots of charcoal chicken places and since red gum isn't a suitable alternative charcoal for them, many are closing down and more will follow. This will also effect other food places which use open flame charcoal grills. He's got some iron bark coming but only had red gum in stock which he reckons isn't any good for low and slow in a kamado but I've used red gum in the egg many times and haven't had that problem.
Anyway, it was an interesting discussion and one which is a bit of a worry.
Great charcoal though, the red gum bags are about 18-20kg.