AFG looks to the fu­ture

Australian Forests and Timber - - AFG - We wel­come your opin­ion: Email your feed­back to j.hudswell@ryan­medi­

AUS­TRALIAN FOR­EST Grow­ers im­me­di­ate past-Pres­i­dent (2009-2014) and Board mem­ber since 2006, David Fisken, and Greg Un­win, Di­rec­tor since 2011, did not seek re-elec­tion to the Board this year . Four cur­rent Di­rec­tors, Kevin Hard­ing (North QLD), Ian Hall (WA), Tim Gille­spie-Jones ( NSW) and Judy Alexan­der (VIC) re-nom­i­nated for Board po­si­tions and were joined by Carol Neal (SE QLD) to fill the five va­can­cies.

The AFG Na­tional AGM was held in con­junc­tion with the local Bal­larat Tree Grow­ers AGM and sev­eral Vic­to­rian mem­bers trav­elled quite long dis­tances to at­tend along with Pres­i­dent Kevin Hard­ing who flew down from far north Queens­land to at­tend.

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Kevin Tol­hurst, from Mel­bourne Univer­sity, pro­vided an ex­cel­lent post-din­ner ad­dress dis­cussing the in­ter­ac­tion of fire with the en­vi­ron­ment and the im­por­tance of fire man­age­ment to man­age land­scapes for ef­fec­tive flora and fauna con­ser­va­tion.

At the first meet­ing of the new AFG Board on 31 Oc­to­ber, Kevin, Ian and Tim were re-con­firmed as Pres­i­dent, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Trea­surer for the next term of the Board. Ad­di­tion­ally, the new Board in­vited Jan New­port (SA) to join the Board as a sup­ple­men­tary Di­rec­tor to add ad­di­tional skills and na­tional cov­er­age to the Board com­po­si­tion.

In his Pres­i­dent’s re­port to the AGM, Kevin noted the fol­low­ing AFG high­lights for 2014/15:

The suc­cess­ful re­cruit­ment of highly ex­pe­ri­enced Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Sarah Paradice, and her man­age­ment of the of­fice shift from Dick­son to a shared of­fice with the In­sti­tute of Foresters of Aus­tralia at Bruce. Sarah has pro­vided much needed Na­tional Of­fice man­age­ment and sup­port to both the Board and mem­bers. The new of­fice ar­range­ments de­liver im­por­tant bud­get sav­ings and open up prospects for in­creased col­lab­o­ra­tive in­ter­ac­tions with IFA.

Trea­surer Tim Gille­spie-Jones will re­port a very healthy sur­plus for the 2014/15 fi­nan­cial year re­flect­ing both fis­cal pru­dency and a very suc­cess­ful 2014 Lis­more con­fer­ence. The Con­fer­ence was a great suc­cess un­der the stew­ard­ship of Mark Wright (Con­venor) with his Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee and in par­tic­u­lar, Diana Lloyd, who pro­vided crit­i­cal con­fer­ence plan­ning and de­liv­ery ex­pe­ri­ence/men­tor­ship.

The Bumper An­nual Edi­tion of the Aus­tralian For­est Grower mag­a­zine marks a mile­stone change for AFG. We wel­come aboard Brad Wykes as the new Ed­i­tor and trust that all mem­bers en­joy the first edi­tion of the An­nual which was dis­trib­uted in early Novem­ber. The Board con­tin­ues to con­sider the re­in­state­ment of a quar­terly mag­a­zine in the con­text of the ef­fec­tive­ness of our over­all com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy.

The AFG News Bul­letin was mooted as a 2-4 page reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion with mem­bers. We have re­ceived very pos­i­tive feed­back on the edi­tions pro­duced to date. The News Bul­letin seems to have filled a val­ued com­mu­ni­ca­tion niche with mem­bers with the first edi­tions run­ning to be­tween 8 and 18 pages! It is pleas­ing to read the sto­ries on field days and other con­tri­bu­tions that have not been gen­er­ally cap­tured in our mag­a­zine that fo­cussed on more for­mal papers and re­ports.

The Board has made a sig­nif­i­cant com­mit­ment to over­haul­ing and mod­ernising the AFG web­site. This will pro­vide great ef­fi­cien­cies and cost sav­ings for the an­nual mem­ber­ship re­newal process and Con­fer­ence and Branch event reg­is­tra­tions. It will also cap­ture our back cat­a­logue of mag­a­zines, poli­cies and gov­ern­ment sub­mis­sions mak­ing them read­ily ac­ces­si­ble to mem­bers as they de­serve to be. They rep­re­sent an im­por­tant and val­ued re­source for this or­gan­i­sa­tion and a huge bank of vol­un­teer time that went in to craft­ing them. Ad­di­tion­ally, it in­cludes a marketplace area for mem­bers to mar­ket their own prod­ucts and prop­er­ties.

A highly ex­pe­ri­enced Con­fer­ence Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee has been formed in Tas­ma­nia and is dili­gently plan­ning and de­vel­op­ing an­other out­stand­ing AFG Con­fer­ence in Launce­s­ton on 2016. We look for­ward to your sup­port and their warm wel­come to Tas­ma­nia from 23-26 Oc­to­ber 2016 (Con­fer­ence) and 18-22 Oc­to­ber (Pre-con­fer­ence Tour).

We have tran­si­tioned to a sin­gle mem­ber­ship re­newal date of 1 June for mem­ber­ships cov­er­ing the next fi­nan­cial year. This is much more ef­fi­cient and man­age­able for our lim­ited of­fice re­sources and pro­vides cer­tainty to the Board for plan­ning around mem­ber­ship level and drives.

We submitted a 28 page sub­mis­sion to the For­est In­dus­tries Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil strate­gic di­rec­tions is­sues pa­per on Meet­ing Fu­ture Mar­ket De­mand for Aus­tralia’s For­est Prod­ucts and For­est In­dus­try. This sub­mis­sion was based on AFG’s en­vi­able re­source of pol­icy state­ments. A pol­icy fo­rum will be built into the 2016 con­fer­ence pro­gram to up­date those pol­icy state­ments that are now dated since the last ma­jor pol­icy fo­rum in 2011/12.

We are build­ing on ex­ist­ing ties and de­vel­op­ing strength­ened col­lab­o­ra­tive link­ages with IFA, AFPA, FWPA, NZFFA, For­est-Works and AFS. Th­ese im­por­tant link­ages will en­sure our Pri­vate Forestry voice is raised, and our is­sues and poli­cies are con­sid­ered, in fo­rums across our Aus­tralian, state and local gov­ern­ment ju­ris­dic­tions as well as by our key in­dus­try peak bod­ies as they con­sider their pol­icy po­si­tions and ad­vo­cate strong in­dus­try po­si­tions.

Kevin thanked all the Board mem­bers for their ded­i­ca­tion and ser­vice to AFG and for the sup­port and en­cour­age­ment of our ex­pe­ri­enced Di­rec­tors as the newer faces have set­tled in to their roles on the Board. Thanks also to Pat Lav­ery for her as­sis­tance with book-keep­ing from July 2014 to March 2105. A spe­cial thanks to Sarah Paradice for her pro­fes­sional man­age­ment of our na­tional of­fice af­fairs and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. He also thanked and recog­nised AFG’s in­sur­ance part­ners JLT and Cover-force who are im­por­tant fi­nan­cial sup­port­ers of AFG and de­serve your con­sid­er­a­tion and sup­port when in­sur­ing your plan­ta­tion and for­est in­vest­ments. We also re­ceived won­der­ful spon­sor­ship sup­port for the 2014 Bi­en­nial con­fer­ence in Lis­more and the Tree Farmer of the Year Awards par­tic­u­larly from the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment (Dept. of Agri­cul­ture), South­ern Cross Univer­sity, FWPA, Hurford Hard­woods, For­est-Works, our in­sur­ers and a range of other sup­port­ers which we grate­fully ac­knowl­edge.

Fi­nally, Kevin moved a vote of thanks to David Fisken and Greg Un­win as they re­tire from the AFG Board of Di­rec­tors. AFS has been priv­i­leged to have had David’s sage lead­er­ship over five years as Pres­i­dent (2009-2014) and nine years in to­tal on the AFG Board dur­ing a time of great change and dif­fi­cult bud­getary wa­ters to ne­go­ti­ate. Greg has been a stal­wart cham­pion of the Grower mag­a­zine dur­ing his four years on the Board and will con­tinue to serve on the Tas­ma­nian Branch Ex­ec­u­tive and the 2016 Con­fer­ence Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee.

We are build­ing on ex­ist­ing ties and de­vel­op­ing strength­ened col­lab­o­ra­tive link­ages with IFA, AFPA, FWPA, NZFFA, For­est-Works and AFS.

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