The importance of a vision and engaging the average Tasmanian

I always find the end of a long-wet winter a good time to reflect, refresh and get ready for the coming spring. So 12-months into the role I took a look back, before taking a look forward.

The Tasmanian Forestry Hub’s purpose has always been to provide information to assist the Commonwealth in future policy development regarding pathways for growth – and removal of barriers – for the forestry industry through stakeholder engagement and consultation.

It was originally set up midway through 2019 and after extensive consultation the Hub Steering Committee last year established a strategy and Roadmap focused on the following pillars:

  • Drive positive climate outcomes
  • Develop a fit for purpose workforce
  • Grow and maintain farm forestry
  • Support industry growth through infrastructure planning

Significant work has been undertaken across each pillar, but if I was to be critical I would also reflect that every industry in Tasmania has very similar pillars of success, e.g., mining, agriculture, building and construction, tourism etc.

So what makes us different and how do we achieve our potential?

While we have a Roadmap, we don’t have a unified destination point; great organisations and industries know what they do, where they are heading and why they exist. I am very much looking forward to being in a room with over 200 of you – representing our Tasmanian forest industry – to brainstorm and challenge what our future could look like.

Getting the vision right and showing a bright future for forestry and forest products in Tasmania will help engage communities, inspire future employees and give confidence to investors and government alike.

The second element – and one I believe is a real opportunity – is building on our carbon/climate strengths and having all Tasmanians proudly recognise the importance of our managed forestry in carbon sequestration.  Every day I am bombarded with other industries and organisations shouting their green credentials or how they are getting closer to net zero. Net zero is nice, but  it will take a lot of energy and minerals to get there.  We are the only sector that sequesters carbon on an industrial scale and, as one of the most forested regions in the world, we need to be louder and prouder.

We need to reinforce the role forestry plays in promoting Tasmania’s clean, green image. Image is only a concept to demonstrate how the Tasmanian brand and forestry could work together.

The Hub would like to truly engage all Tasmanians and visitors. We need to be more consumer focused and ‘see things through the eyes of the average Tasmanian’, with less science and forestry talk, promoting the benefits of our industry in a digestible and visible way.

Imagine a live sequestering tally on the Brooker and Channel highways stating, ‘Today our managed forests accounted for all Tasmania’s cars, cities and agriculture’.

Imagine a tourist disembarking the plane in Launceston (or the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport) and seeing a Tourism Tasmania billboard, ‘Rest and breathe easy now… Tasmania’s managed forests are hard at work’.

I think carbon is the only way we truly get social license back to where it should be and it’s not through ‘educating them’ it’s through collaboration and providing simple tools and consistent messaging.

Want to share your ideas or thoughts? Contact Tasmania Forestry Hub General Manager, Simon Talbot HERE.