The View - November 2016
VicForests Annual Report 2015/16
VicForests achieved its best ever full-year operating result of $6.8 million for the 2015/16 Financial Year and a net profit after tax of $3.4 million.
This is the fourth consecutive year we have returned a profit and as a result at 30 June 2016 we are completely debt free.
We have continued to demonstrate profitability over the last four years, and provided a growing dividend stream to the State as a result of our operations.
A dividend of $1.502 million was paid to the Victorian Treasurer in July 2016 following a successful year in 2014/15 and we will discuss the payment of further dividends on the back of our result in the 2015/16 year.
VicForests also made great strides in safety performance in 2015/16 where within a period of 12 consecutive months there were no lost time injuries for staff as well as a 50 percent reduction in contractor lost time injuries.
Achieving these outcomes indicates that our goal of ‘Zero Harm’ is a realistic and achievable target. “Unfortunately lost time injuries still occur, but when they do we work to identify the causes of the accidents so we can ensure they don’t happen again.
This financial year saw VicForests improved Research and Development practices result in regular detections of threatened species.
Throughout the areas we operate in we have detected Leadbeater’s Possums, Greater Gliders, threatened Owls, Long-footed Potoroos and other threatened species.
Each time threatened species are detected, we work with the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning to implement appropriate protection measures.
VicForests strong financial performance is further evidence that the native timber industry continues to be a strong and essential part of the Victorian economy.
VicForests is Australia’s largest supplier of high quality hardwood timber and demand for locally grown, sustainable timber products remains strong.
Our industry contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Victorian economy each year.
A 2015 study by Deloitte Access Economics showed that harvesting operations from 1,600 hectares of forest in the Central Highlands contributed almost $600 million to the Victorian economy.
VicForests results are audited each year by the Victorian Auditor General’s Office to verify their accuracy and compliance with Australian Accounting Standards. This provides an important level of assurance for the community.
Timber Release Plan amendments
VicForests is seeking comment from local community members on proposed changes to the Timber Release Plan (TRP).
Any amendment to the Timber Release Plan would not change the overall level of harvesting. The changes will be reflected in the locations where operations will occur, within areas already designated for timber harvesting in State forest, over the next five years.
The proposed changes to the TRP focus on options for timber harvesting which are outside the areas identified as most important for conservation as part of the current Forest Industry Taskforce process.
There also continues to be an increase in the number of Leadbeater’s Possum colonies found in State forest, with each new colony found protected by a 12 hectare reserve area.
Amending the TRP will provide the timber industry with further flexibility to work around the new reserves being created for the protection of Leadbeater's Possum.
The community consultation period will run from 2 November to 23 November 2016 and relate to operations in the North East and West Gippsland regions.
Community feedback is sought on specific operational aspects of our proposed new harvesting locations or boundary changes.
This process is an opportunity to provide comment regarding concerns with:
- The timing of harvesting operations;
- The use of particular haulage routes;
- The proximity of proposed harvesting to private property or public use areas; or
- The identification and protection of other forest values within specific harvesting sites.
We welcome the community to raise any specific concerns they may have about the proposed operations. Public submissions are closely considered by VicForests’ Planning staff before the plans are finalised.
The finalised Timber Release Plans, along with all submissions received, are then submitted to the VicForests’ Board of Directors for consideration and approval. These plans must be approved before harvesting commences and all operations are required to comply the detailed regulations which relate to native timber harvesting in Victoria.
A schedule of proposed coupes, maps indicating approximate locations and a feedback form for public comment are available on our website at vicforests.com.au/Proposedtrp Submissions can be sent to email@example.com, via our website at vicforests.com.au/proposedtrpsubmission or in writing to: VicForests, GPO Box 191, Melbourne, 3001 during the specified feedback period.
Strathbogies harvesting operations
A low intensity timber harvesting operation is set to begin in the Strathbogies State forest once weather conditions permit.
VicForests’ General Manager Planning, Nathan Trushell, said the operation will use the single-tree selection harvesting method.
“Single-tree selection harvesting is different from other harvesting methods as it removes a much smaller number of trees from an uneven aged forest.
“This style of harvesting has been chosen as a result of discussions between VicForests and the local community that have taken place over a number of years.
“Trees of different ages are selected for harvesting based on their diameter and condition with smaller and younger trees retained to grow on to the next harvest and older trees left for future species habitat.
“Both good quality trees will be removed for sawlog, to produce high quality timber flooring and furniture, and poorer quality mature trees will be removed to allow the younger trees to become future sawlogs.
“The intention of selective harvesting operations is to leave behind an uneven aged forest once harvesting has been completed and remaining trees are either retained as habitat trees or to continue to grow on,” he said.
Mr Trushell said there has been a history of timber harvesting in the Strathbogies since the late 1800s however there has been no harvesting in the area since 2006/07.
“Some members of the community have expressed their concern about harvesting recommencing in the Strathbogies and requested a moratorium on all timber harvesting activities in the forest.
“We are unable to commit to no harvesting at all in the area as this would impact on our ability to meet our contractual obligations.
“But as a result of our discussions with the community and the concerns that have been raised, we have chosen to use the single-tree selection harvesting method,” he said.
“The forest on the site will be re-established through a combination of retained trees, natural seedfall from these retained trees and proactively sowing native seed where needed. “If any further work is required to ensure the area has successfully regrown, we will continue to treat the site until it has regenerated,” Mr Trushell said.
The area to be harvested is around 27 hectares which will take around six weeks to complete.
VicForests carries out biodiversity and high conservation value assessments in all areas planned for harvest to identify and protect key ecological communities, threatened species and/or their habitat.
VicForests is a member of many local communities. Our staff, contractors and customers, work and live across the State and are committed to contributing to regional communities.
Over the last month, VicForests has sponsored and helped out at a number of community events including the Wandin Silvan Field Days and the Woori Yallock Children’s Festival.
The Wandin Silvan Field Days was a great turn out with over 600 people visiting us to find out more about our operations. Staff were able to share information about how we plan, harvest and regrow forests and explain what was happening in the local area. We gave away seedlings to people visiting our display and many people walked away with a clearer understanding about native forestry and the regeneration process .
We also took part in the Woori Yallock Childrens Festival for the first time. The three hour event was very popular and was attended by over 500 children and their families from throughout the Yarra Valley .VicForests staff were inundated with people wanting to take home a small wood sample ( otherwise known as a 'tree cookie' - pictured). Many question were asked and everyone seemed keen to hear about how our dedicated staff plan out each area for timber harvesting and regrow it afterwards.
VicForests regularly supports and assist local communities, from financial assistance via Community Support program grants, to timber and bark donations, as well as ongoing partnerships with local groups and services, we strive to enhance the communities we work and live in.
Australia's first engineered timber office building
VicForests joined Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) directors and other industry officials last month to get a close-up view of Australia’s first engineered timber office building at Barangaroo in inner Sydney.
The building’s main construction uses cross laminated timber and glulam – sustainable and certified products with a far lower carbon footprint than other building materials. Features of the building are huge beam struts at the base of the building made from solid recycled iron bark.
The full article is available to read on the AFS website.(Source AFSLtd)
VAFI Annual Dinner
VicForests is once again a proud sponsor of the Victorian Association of Forest Industries Annual Dinner which will be held on Friday 18 November 2016.
Every year, VAFI holds a dinner to bring together important government, political and industry stakeholders. This year marks exactly 130 years of industry representation in Victoria.
VAFI promise a night of fun and celebration showcasing the Victorian forest and wood products industry and its importance to key stakeholders.
If you haven’t yet purchased your ticket you can do so by visiting the VAFI Website. Get in quick though, as RSVPs close midday tomorrow!