VicForests is on the move
VicForests has signed a lease which will see its Healesville regional office relocate to Woori Yallock during the second half of 2015.
The move will initially see approximately 30 staff from VicForests’ Healesville and Melbourne offices working out of Woori Yallock.
We are very happy to have signed a long term lease which will see our staff based in Woori Yallock and working alongside other land management organisations such as Parks Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Country Fire Authority.
We have been located in Healesville since 2008 and have built strong links to the town and the broader community over the last seven years.
This move allows us to base ourselves long term in the Yarra Valley andwe look forward to continuing to have a presence in the region.
We believe this is a good outcome for Woori Yallock and will see the town benefit from additional economic activity.
The new office on Symes Rd provides a bigger space and allows the opportunity for VicForests to base more of our staff in the Yarra Valley in the future as needed.
Refurbishment works are currently taking place on the site and we hope to be able to move in by July/August.
Land Management Workshop
VicForests’ Melbourne office was the venue for the latest Integrated Land Management Curriculum Victoria ‘Land Management Education and Training Workshop’.
The workshop with staff from the University of Melbourne brought together different parts of the forestry and land management industry to discuss the education/training needs of employees and graduates in the sector.
The workshop was great opportunity to talk about the needs of staff in the industry with other organisations such as Parks Victoria, HVP, VAFI and Melbourne Polytechnic.
One thing that stood out in the discussion was the fact that organisations across the land management sector are looking for very similar skills in their employees.
The expectations on staff are changing and organisations recognise the importance of skills like stakeholder engagement, business and people management, flexibility and problem solving.
These capabilities are becoming more and more vital to complement the science-based knowledge and love of the outdoors which are common to people across our industry.
The workshops are a terrific initiative from School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at Melbourne Uni.
The discussion was particularly valuable and VicForests was very happy to be able to assist by providing a venue for the session.
Regrowing Program Update
VicForests’ regrowing program is continuing across eastern Victoria.
All areas are progressing well with their programs with some nearing completion. It’s anticipated that this year’s burning program will be finishing up early May, depending on weather conditions.
We are very conscious of the community’s sensitivity towards fire and want to ensure people are not alarmed by smoke they may see as a result of this process.
As a reminder, residents who would like more information regarding burns in their area can contact the Victorian Bushfire Information line on 1800 240 667 or go to www.delwp.vic.gov.au/fire-and-emergencies
Hearing impaired residents can call the following numbers for more information:
• TTY users phone 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 240 667
• Speak and Listen users phone 1800 555 727 then ask for 1800 240 667
• Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 1800 240 667.
Timber Harvesting Safety Zones will be in place during burn operations for the safety of the public and those conducting the burns. For more information go to visit our Timber Harvesting Safety Zones page.
All burns are authorised by DELWP prior to ignition and will be closely monitored by crews on location. Informing the broader community of these burns is undertaken through the formal DELWP notification process.
Safety Summit's powerful reminder
The annual Forest Industry Safety Summit, sponsored by VicForests, this year hosted in Melbourne, delivered a moving and powerful reminder on the importance of keeping forest industry employees safe at work.
The event, held in March, brought together forestry organisations from around Australia for two days to showcase new practices, systems and tools for improving forest safety and to focus on practical safety outcomes.
Key note speakers included Ivan Pupalidy, Director of the Office for Learning with the US Forest Service, and Reynold Hert, Chairman and CEO of British Columbia Forest Safety Council.
A particularly moving presentation with a powerful safety message was delivered by Wiremu Lee Edmonds, from New Zealand.
Mr Edmonds is a fifth generation forest worker who spoke about tragically losing his son in a harvesting incident in 2013.
It was a stark, confronting and very personal story that Mr Edmonds delivered to industry attendees on what can go wrong and the tragic impact it has on loved ones.
It is an incredible story of tragedy but also of strength and courage and the need for every one of us to 'stand in the gap' to tackle workplace safety.
This story had such a profound impact that VicForests plans to invite Mr Edmonds over from New Zealand to talk to our staff and contractors about his experience.
Robert Green, VicForests’ CEO, also made a presentation showing the substantial progress VicForests, its staff and contractors have made towards the organisation’s goal of Zero Harm to all workers.
The summit was a great success and included a line-up of world class speakers from North America, New Zealand and of course Australia. It was great to see participation, from harvesting contractors to CEOs, all in the same room and sharing the same messages.
We are incredibly proud to be able to sponsor what we see as a crucial event in the forestry industry’s calendar. We need to keep striving to improve safety practices and keep people aware that a job in forestry can be, and often is, dangerous.
In 2014 we achieved 10 out of 12 months of zero harm which is an improvement on last year and helps us strive towards our core aim to have every single worker return safely home each day.
We have had some proud safety achievements this year but we can never be complacent and always need to strive for better safety outcomes.
Open House events completed
VicForests would like to thank those community members who attended the Open House events in Healesville, Heyfield, Bairnsdale and Orbost last month.
The Open Houses were an opportunity for anyone with an interest or enquiry regarding native forestry or VicForests’ operations to attend and have their questions answered.
The events featured several information stations regarding VicForests’ operations including Planning, Harvesting, Regeneration and the management of high conservation values as well as details about VicForests’ bid to gain Forest Stewardship Council Controlled Wood certification.
More than 100 people attended five events across the state during March, including a contractors' briefing in Traralgon.
We had a wide cross section of the community represented including industry, environmentally-minded members of the public and families with an interest in forest management.
These events have been an important part of VicForests' engagement program in the last two years and we continue to look for different and easier ways for the community to engage with our staff and have their questions answered.
VicForests would like to thank the contractors for taking the time out of their working day to attend the briefing.
We presented our recent plans to seek Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Controlled Wood certification and the adjustments that have been made to VicForests’ Business Management System to help align it with the Standard.
Contractors were also provided with information that explains the difference between FSC Controlled Wood and FSC Forest Management certification, why VicForests is seeking Controlled Wood and what to expect during the audit.
Contractors were also encouraged to be involved in the process and to submit comments on VicForests’ draft Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management Plan and draft Strategy for Assessing and Maintaining High Conservation Values.
Community events throughout March
VicForests staff have been involved in a range of community events during March, including field trips and the Upper Yarra Crank Up event.
Burwood East Primary school students had a great day on their VicForests' field trip visiting a live operation, viewing regenerating areas and visiting the Powelltown Mill.
Harvester Technical College students also visited Toolangi as part of a 'Wood as a Resource' unit that they are studying. This is the third time VicForests have assisted with this unit and the session generated a lot of discussion.
VicForests staff also took Goulburn Broken Catchment Board members on a trip through the Toolangi area.
The Board members were shown all aspects of VicForests operations and gained a better understanding of the way in which protection of environmental values and waterways are taken into account when planning operations.
VicForests was also proud to sponsor the Upper Yarra Crank Up on the 28th and 29th of March. The weekend was another successful and fun-filled family day for the Yarra Valley.
The VicForests display featured current operational practices and also highlighted links to the timber history of the area. Those who visited the display were able to discuss a range of forestry related questions, and received a seedling to remember the visit.
Thanks to VicForests staff Mick Stormer, Scott Arnold and Tim Sanders who assisted over the two days.