The View - December 2016
New VicForests Chair and Deputy Chair
VicForests would like to congratulate Michael Humphris and Therese Ryan on their appointments as Chair and Deputy Chair of VicForests.
The Hon. Jaala Pulford, Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development announced the appointments of Michael and Therese on Saturday, 3 December.
With over 35 years’ experience in finance, auditing and consulting, VicForests is looking forward to Michael leading the Board in his new position as Chair.
Michael has extensive knowledge in auditing, asset management, business advice, strategic planning and corporate recovery. Michael has been with the VicForests Board since November 2012 and he took over as Acting Chair in April 2016 after Gordon Davis resigned.
Therese is an existing VicForests Director who has been with VicForests for almost four years. She offers decades of experience as a senior business executive and commercial lawyer.
We are confident that both appointments will bring great leadership to VicForests and assist us through any challenges we face as the industry over the coming years.
Minister Pulford said that the appointments followed an open and transparent recruitment process which attracted a strong field of candidates.
“Both Mr Humphris and Ms Ryan bring significant experience and continuity to the leadership of VicForests.
“I’m confident that together they will help VicForests to continue its important and trusted role,” Minister Pulford said.
Click here to read Minister Pulford's Media Release
Click here to read more about the VicForests Board of Directors
VicForests' sustainability certification extends to western Victoria
VicForests has successfully extended its certification to the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) to include community forestry operations in western Victoria.
Nathan Trushell, Acting CEO VicForests, said that this is the first time VicForests has sought certification for its community forestry operations.
“VicForests’ have been certified to the AFS for ten years now and we are very pleased to officially include our western Victorian operations within that certification.
“With over 60 customers in western Victoria we saw it as essential to extend our certification to cover our community forestry operations.
“All VicForests’ customers will now be able to purchase timber from us with the independent assurance that it comes from sustainably managed forests,” Mr Trushell said.
There are nine criteria that forest managers must meet to receive certification including the need to protect biodiversity, maintain forest health, protect soil and water and to maintain and enhance social and economic benefits.
VicForests is audited every nine months by accredited auditors in order to maintain its certification.
The most recent surveillance audit took place in September 2016.
“Our staff should be very proud of the audit results,” Mr Trushell said.
“The report stated that excellent progress has been made in training and our systems have been enhanced to support the taskforce process and updates regarding threatened species detections,” he said.
The auditors also commended VicForests staff for showing strong support for the certification process and actively improving practices both in the field and in their system. It was suggested that VicForests should improve on its documentation and procedures for assessing and recording risks.
“We have updated our risk assessment instructions for staff and will work on improving our procedures over the coming months, Mr Trushell said.
The AFS is internationally recognised by the world’s largest forest certification scheme, the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
VicForests is responsible for the sustainable harvest, regrowing and commercial sale of timber in Victoria. VicForests supports thousands of jobs state wide and plays a vital role in sustaining the economy in rural areas.
For further details or to view a copy of the audit report please visit www.vicforests.com.au/ audit-reports.
VicForests discovers historical Tramway
VicForests recently discovered a historical Tramway in the Royston Range during a routine pre-harvest assessment.
It is believed that this would have been established after the 1939 bushfires as all tramways were wooden before then and destroyed during the fires.
The Tramway has now been protected by a buffer.
VicForests assesses every site planned for harvest prior to commencing operations to look for environmental, cultural and historical elements as well as threatened species and their habitats.
Whenever anything of significance is discovered, like this historical tramway, VicForests work with the appropriate authorities to apply protection measures and ensure it is unaffected by any timber harvesting operations.
2016 International Nitrogen Initiative Conference forest tour
VicForests hosted a tour at Toolangi State Forests for the 2016 International Nitrogen Initiative Conference.
The tour included 43 delegates representing businesses from all over the world and for most of the delegates this was their first opportunity to visit the Mountain Ash forests.
VicForests explained to the attendees how we undertake operations and manage the forest and how it compares to plantation forests and other agricultural systems that many of these scientists are working with in their research.
Sustainable Operations Support Local Jobs
The Strathbogie State Forest has been providing local employment to residents for over 100 years. Mr Ron Jones, retired Strathbogie resident, harvested here for timber around 50 years ago and today his grandson Richard is able to harvest that same area.
Rob Kirley, owner of RJ Kirley Transport in Mansfield, has been contracted by VicForests to complete the current harvesting operation.
“I employ three full-time staff and have taken on an additional four staff for the duration of this operation,” Mr Kirley said.
“The work we do is completely sustainable.
The area being harvested in this region is only 0.1% of the total Strathbogies forest,” he said.
Mr Kirley explained that firewood is an important commodity in the area as many people rely on it for heating where they do not have access to gas or electric heating.
“We have recently expanded our operation to enable the processing of the lower quality logs for firewood for the north east region.
“We have also purchased land and built a storage shed for firewood and sawn timber,” Mr Kirley said.
The VicForests operation is in 27 hectares of the Strathbogies State Forest which covers a total area of approximately 27 000 hectares, 9 000 of which is currently suitable for timber harvesting.
“We’re leaving behind more trees than we take, so in another 25 to 40 years you’ll be able to come back and do the same. It’s a renewable resource that keeps on growing.
“The trees we choose to leave behind are the best available habitat trees for now and in the future,” he said.
Mr Kirley said that the small impact that timber harvesting has on this forest produces noticeable benefits for local employment and supplies local businesses that depend on this industry for their livelihoods.
“I am a third generation timber industry worker who has relied on this work for more than 35 years and my family’s involvement dates back as far as 70 years”, he said.
Lachlan Spencer, General Manager Planning VicForests said that VicForests role is to find a balance between environmental conservation and supplying their contractual obligations. “There is a high demand for sustainable hardwood timber products in Victoria”, Mr Spencer said.
“We need to be able to depend more on local, sustainably managed forests for supplying our timber demands rather than relying on imports.
“We conduct all our operations in a sustainable way, assessing each area for environmental elements and regrowing each area following operations.
“Each tree produces a range of different products with the highest quality hardwood timber from these operations going into furniture, flooring and construction supplies and the lower quality timber being used for paper products, firewood and woodchips,” he said.
VicForests is certified to the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS), which is aligned to the global Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) - the world's largest forest certification scheme.
TCA Young Ambassadors
(Source: Timber and Forestry eNews)
The 2016 Timber Communities Australia’s Young Ambassadors were congratulated at their graduation ceremony in Melbourne on November 18.
Leilani Dawes, Michael Dent, Roy Head and Matthew Randall were presented with their certificates and congratulated by TCA Chair Brenton Yon, National Coordinator Helen Murray and special guest Diana Lloyd, General Manager of ForestWorks.
This six-month program encourages and equips under 35s to more confidently take a lead communicating about the forest and wood products sector in their own regions.
Each young ambassador successfully completed local community engagement activities and several group activities; professional media training; a series of round-table learning sessions with guest speakers; attendance at a national industry networking event; and a two day parliamentary advocacy familiarisation exercise in October.
On graduation day they each spoke about the local outreach activities they had completed. The local projects were outlined as part of their application and interview selection process in April-May, when short-listed candidates were interviewed by TCA Vice-Chair Stacey Gardiner and Helen Murray.
All four decided on engaging with schools through field trips or classroom visits, wanting to impact young people’s attitudes to timber and attract interest in careers in a sustainable industry.
“They are great young people, all with leadership capacity,” enthused Helen Murray who devised and ran the initiative.
“It is very rewarding to hear them say that the experiences gained through this initiative increased their skills and confidence and, importantly, also their networks, Ms Murray said.
“None of the group knew each other before and they really enjoyed learning and working together. For me it has been a real pleasure mentoring them through the initiative.”
Through various learning sessions with many guest speakers, the Young Ambassadors had a crash course in key aspects of the sector which has given them more confidence to communicate about the environmental sustainability of Australia’s timber sector.
Ms Murray also took them through an advocacy exercise and they had input into TCAs new set of key messages, which was ‘road tested’ in the parliamentary visits in October.
TCA Board Chair Brenton Yon heartily congratulated the group and said they were fine representatives and he had enjoyed witnessing their growth.
TCA also thanks the sponsoring partners PF Olsen, Linx Finance, HVP Plantations and ForestrySA, who each supported one place for a candidate.
To find out more about the TCA Young Ambassadors Initiative visit www.tca.org.au