Total involvement needed to ensure industry transformation
THE ARBRE Hub and Business Action Leading Tasmania brought together 140 Industry delegates in Launceston to hear a series of presentations from political and industry leaders on working through the body of work produced by the Forest Industry Advisory Council on “Transforming Australia’s Forest Products Industry”.
The program sought to identify three stages of delivery for the transformation to be able to take effect. The political will, the policy framework and finally, a can do attitude backed by financial stability and investment in the people that will effect the change.
Guy Barnett Tasmanian Minister for Resources, gave a clear undertaking of full Government support for all facets of forest industry development. He referred to numerous industry developments in Tasmania, including further downstream processing opportunities, funding for research programs and facilities to be located in Tasmania, and the necessity for industry-centric programs to be focused in the education system as well as at school leavers.
Positive political will identified
Rob De Fégely, the CoChair of FIAC, and the Chair of Forestry Tasmania, spoke on the three objectives, eight strategies and the 19 recommendations outlined in the FIAC document, Transforming Australia’s Forest Products Industry. He took advantage of rapidly changing face of the forest industry in Tasmania to open discussions on transformation, the constant clamour for continuous improvement transformation will demand, and the ability to cover the objectives that the FIAC paper delivers to an audience that is smack bang in the middle of transformation, and that this very experience is easily translated to all of Australia at present.
Policy Framework outlined
David Brand, CEO of New Forests, gave an overview of the transformation of our forest ownership structure. He said the confidence generated by global investment companies putting faith into forest ownership and processing has stabilised our industry. This has re-focused investment heavily in replanting the estate, and given stability to existing global markets, whilst opening up new opportunities for further downstream processing and development. David emphasised the necessity to bring the people along for the ride, “without investment in our people and our practices, the transformation remains just a good idea”.
Can do attitude exists
The second session heard from our next generation of forest industry participants through a series of presentations working through leveraging our Education system, the delivery of the highly successful “Bloody Legends” program into our forestry sector, activity sampling to take advantage of technology to boost the expectations of productivity through technology, and how to work with the constant clamour for continuous improvement, not against it.
Genevieve Cother, from the Action Learning Institute, presented on a collaborative approach to industry improvement. A key statement from the FIAC paper is “the forest industry must take the lead in determining its future. It must improve collaboration within and outside the industry as it pursues greater productivity through innovation”. Genevieve outlined programs currently under way through the manufacturing base in Tasmania that produce the very results that the FIAC seek to achieve.
Bryan Hayes, Arbre Hub Chairman, rated the day as an enormous step forward for the Tasmanian forest industry. “One of our main objectives at the Arbre Hub is to contribute to a change in the conversation about our industry through our programs within the education system and community-based programs. We have laid a framework that does give confidence in investment and development. It’s now up to us through the Arbre Hub to help deliver that message and create the outcomes necessary for transformation through investment into our people.”
Rob De Fégely. Colin McCulloch. Bryan Hayes.