Our Mis­sion – to Build Greener Aus­tralian Cities in Tim­ber

Australian Forests and Timber - - In The News - By John Stokes AFPA SA Man­ager

LEAD­ER­SHIP IN any area can be both a dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing. Ar­tic­u­lat­ing a vi­sion and ex­e­cut­ing the strat­egy to achieve ob­jec­tives are at the very heart of strong lead­er­ship. Yet it can be both dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing be­cause in­vari­ably there are road blocks and bar­ri­ers.

It is al­ways there­fore pleas­ing to be able to high­light good lead­er­ship in ac­tion. The tim­ber in­dus­try in South Aus­tralia is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing such an ex­am­ple.

Re­cently, AFPA SA joined forces with the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment on a lead­er­ship ini­tia­tive called ‘Build­ing Greener Cities in Tim­ber’. In April this year, a joint sem­i­nar was held in Ade­laide to ex­plore the en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic ben­e­fits of build­ing with sus­tain­able tim­ber. Tes­ti­mony to the im­por­tance that the Gov­ern­ment placed on this ini­tia­tive, Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill opened the sem­i­nar high­light­ing the lead­er­ship po­si­tion his gov­ern­ment wished to take in this area.

In his open­ing re­marks, the Pre­mier said “Fol­low­ing our Car­bon Neu­tral Ade­laide part­ner­ship with the Ade­laide City Coun­cil, the log­i­cal next step is to see how we can re­duce emis­sions in the built en­vi­ron­ment. From what is be­ing pre­sented here to­day, there are clear op­por­tu­ni­ties to do this with tim­ber-based tech­nolo­gies and po­ten­tial to cre­ate man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs at the same time”.

With the de­vel­op­ment of in­no­va­tive prod­ucts like CLT, changes to the Na­tional Con­struc­tion Code and the rise of pre­fab­ri­ca­tion, a win­dow has opened to make sig­nif­i­cant head­way in this area. Ap­pli­ca­tion in the medium den­sity liv­ing and com­mer­cial con­struc­tion makes for a com­pelling ar­gu­ment. Cou­pled with this op­por­tu­nity and the sig­nif­i­cant hous­ing short­ages in Aus­tralia, in­no­va­tive tim­ber prod­uct and prac­tices will meet the fu­ture need for bet­ter build­ing qual­ity, faster con­struc­tion, safer work sites and more sus­tain­able build­ings so­lu­tions.

Such was the suc­cess of the sem­i­nar, plan­ning has now com­menced to ar­range for more de­tailed dis­cus­sions on how might South Aus­tralia lead the coun­try in recog­nis­ing the tan­gi­ble ben­e­fits to both the en­vi­ron­ment and econ­omy, of in­creased tim­ber use in the built en­vi­ron­ment. AFPA SA and the Depart­ment of State De­vel­op­ment are spear­head­ing the next round of talks be­tween key stake­hold­ers.

These tar­geted dis­cus­sions should lead to clear plans be­ing iden­ti­fied to achieve the agreed ob­jec­tives.

The South East of South Aus­tralia is one of the pre­mier soft­wood plan­ta­tion re­gions in Aus­tralia. Its role in par­tic­i­pat­ing in this project will be crit­i­cal. Lead­er­ship is about recog­nis­ing and purs­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that lead to win – win out­comes. It is about suc­cess­fully en­gag­ing all stake­hold­ers.

The Build­ing Greener Cities ini­tia­tive is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of lead­er­ship by a state gov­ern­ment and the for­est in­dus­try - work­ing to­gether in a co­or­di­nated way to build stronger Aus­tralian com­mu­ni­ties.

(John took up his po­si­tion in May 2017. The BGC ini­tia­tive is one of his first key projects. His next ar­ti­cle will high­light his views about the forestry in­dus­try and the im­por­tant role the South­East plays in driv­ing eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial ben­e­fits for South Aus­tralia)

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