New national forest plan offers certainty for the future
Recognition of major changes in industry
THE AFPA gala dinner in Canberra on September 12 would go down as a watershed moment for the forest industries in Australia, according to CEO Ross Hampton.
He said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s comprehensive plan to support the growth and sustainability of the sector “has given us recognition at the highest level of government”.
Addressing more than 500 guests at the dinner, Mr Turnbull said: “Tonight I am pleased to announce I am requesting Senator Anne Ruston to help us develop a new government plan that will underpin growth in the renewable timber and woodfibre industry and work to give you the vision and certainty you need.
“We are committed to developing this industry as a growth engine for regional Australia.”
An extra dimension was added to the event as industry stakeholders from all over Australia spent quality time with 40 to 50 MPs.
Mr Hampton said policy settings, now a generation old, had been reset for the future.
“These policies needed updating so the PM’s announcement will build on the good work of the Forest Industry Advisory Council with the government coming forward with a new full-blown forest industries plan for Australia in the 21st century,” he said.
“We have reached a new state of healthy acknowledgement of the industry’s rightful place as one of the prime feeders of economic development in Australia, particularly in regional areas.
“The Turnbull government has reaffirmed its strong support for the sector and is committed to further collaboration to achieve certainty into the future.”
AFPA chairman Greg McCormack enthusiastically welcomed the development of a forest industries plan.
“The guiding policy documents used by government to frame responses to our industries were both delivered last century – the 1992 National Forest Policy Statement and the 1997 Plantations Vision 2020 plan,” Mr McCormack said.
“Our industries have changed dramatically since then and I am delighted the Prime Minister has recognised that it is vital that government and departments also update their approach.
“The new government national forest industries plan will, we trust, outline actions to support the industry to establish new plantations, increase investment and grasp opportunities in the emerging bio-economy to turbo-charge regional job creation and economic development.”
The gala dinner was also an opportunity to celebrate the industry’s best and brightest, with the announcement of the winners of the inaugural 2017 Forest Industry Innovation Awards.
The three award winners were: OneSafeGroup for innovation in safety; Timber Communities Australia for innovation in training; and AKD Softwoods for innovation in business.
The winners in each category were presented with a $1000 cash prize and a special timber trophy.
Finalists in each category were TABMA Australia (training), Hume Forests (safety); and SFM Hydrowood (business innovation).
“The AFPA award for innovation in training has given deserved wider recognition of Timber Communities Australia, especially the value of young people – our young ambassadors and future industry leaders – in promoting the value of sustainable forests,” TCA
national coordinator Helen Murray said.
“The award also recognised the importance of a ‘voice’ for industry in regional areas to react and respond to arising issues relevant to the sector,” she said. “OneFortyOne Plantations and its contract partners in the OneSafe Group, are honoured to have been awarded the Industry Innovation Award for Safety,” CEO Linda Sewell said.
“In just 12 months, as a result of the intensive work and collaboration of the group, the collective injury incident rate has more than halved,” she said.
“This award is testament to the foresight and focus of the group in improving safety, in a way that has never been done before in the forestry industry.”
Innovation in Business Award winner Associated Kiln Driers Pty Ltd operates integrated forestry and timber processing company based in southwest Victoria.
The state’s biggest sawmilling company, AKD is the second largest in Australia with two sawmills processing about 630,000m3 a year. It draws on about 8000 ha of radiata plantations in Victoria and South Australia.
■ Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball speaking at the AFPA gala dinner.
■ Ric Sinclair, managing director, Forest and Wood Products Australia, John Summers, general manager, sales, Timberlink Australia, Glen Rivers, chief forester, OneFortyOne Plantations, and David Brand, CEO and founder of New Forests.
■ Ron Caddy, Lamcal Builders Supplies, Melbourne, Shane Vicary, AKD Softwoods, Colac, Vic, and Peter Alexander, Peuker and Alexander, Melbourne.
■ Sarah Paradice, CEO, Institute of Foresters, Canberra (centre) with daughter Lizzie and Suzette Weeding, general manager, forest development, Sustainable Timber Tasmania.
■ Terry Edwards. CEO, Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (right) with Finlease representatives Mark O'Donoghue, group CEO and managing director, Sydney, James Brettnall, equipment finance broker, Melbourne, Alex Charilaou, senior finance broker,...
■ Mick Theobald, marketing and operations manager, OneFortyOne Plantations, Mount Gambier, with Senator Ian Macdonald, who was Minister for Forestry and Conservation 2001-2002 and Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation 2002-2006 in the...
■ Peter Robinson, GM strategy and development, PNG Forest Products, Dave Gover, CEO, Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia, and Stuart Toakley, sales and marketing manager, Borg Manufacturing, Sydney.
■ Professor Rod Keenan, school of ecosystem and forest sciences, University of Melbourne, and Alison Carmichael, manager, Agsafe Ltd, and director Australian Forestry Standard.
■ Paul Groenhout, managing director, PF Olsen, Melbourne, with Linda Sewell, CEO, OneFortyOne Plantations.