VicForests 2017 Year in Review
VicForests remains in good shape financially. Although we reported a loss after tax for the 2016/17 financial year, due to an increase in forest reserves, we still recorded an operating profit of $1.5 million and currently have no net debt.
Our ecology scientists have gone from strength to strength in developing our knowledge of threatened species behaviour and habitat and we continue to invest our time and efforts into developing a best approach management model with experts in this field.
We operate in a dynamic industry and environment and it is clear that we work alongside some very resilient and adaptable people who continue to meet every challenge with optimism.
Despite the decrease in available area, the demand for native timber remains strong. The products made from the wood we sell have a unique hardness, strength, durability and beauty that only slow grown native hardwood timber can produce.
I am proud to work alongside such passionate and knowledgeable staff who care deeply about the forests and continue to develop their skills and spend their life working in the forest.
VicForests continues to place a strong emphasis on safety as we work toward our goal of zero harm. During the 2016/17 financial year there were two lost-time injuries recorded for staff and four for contractors. Any lost-time injury is too many and all of these were investigated and reviewed to assess how we can prevent any further injuries occurring in the future.
To support our number one value of Safe, VicForests is constantly implementing training among staff and contractors and looking for further ways to improve in this area. Some of the new initiatives for safety that have been implemented over 2017 include:
Zero phone use while driving policy - After a trial period, VicForests has revised our motor vehicle policy to stipulate that our drivers must not use a mobile phone whilst driving, even if hands free capacity is available. Research shows that engaging in meaningful conversation while driving increases the risk of a traffic accident as it distracts the driver from focussing on road safety. This may have an impact on responsiveness of VicForests staff to stakeholders who contact us. We ask that you be patient when waiting for a response and understand that this policy is for the purpose of looking after the safety of our employees and other road users.
Improvements in manual handling processes and labelling - We have improved practices at our depots and seed storage facilities to reduce manual handling and the risk of heavy load bearing injuries.
Improvements in road signage – We have improved our road signage in order to increase awareness of our operations for public, staff and contractors and reduce the risk of road accidents.
Truck rollover prevention training – To improve safety of all road users, truck rollover prevention training is mandatory for our contracting workforce.