Our Mission – to Build Greener Australian Cities in Timber
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)