Minister Ellis excited for new era of forestry

As a primary-aged student, what career or industry did you imagine you might end up in?

Minister Ellis with his son, William

I wanted to be a paleontologist or an astronaut.

How would you describe your childhood?

I grew up in the remote Kimberley region of WA as one of four boys, and had a classic Australian childhood of sun and cricket.

When did your interest in the Tasmanian forest sector begin?  

One of the things that attracted me to Tasmania was how beautiful the landscape was. I was struck by how many people used Tasmania’s forests for both recreation and work. I have also had a long interest in ecology and bushfire management.

The TFFPN’s recent industry forum, Vision 2050: Realising our Potential heard from a range of speakers from both within and outside the industry. What is one key point you took away from the event?  

The opportunities available to the next generation of foresters through advanced technology, including forest monitoring and data acquisition.

Minister Ellis at the TFFPN Forum Dinner in September

What do you think the industry’s most significant challenges are at the moment?  

Meeting demand. As we increasingly shift to a low-carbon and plastic-free future, demand for wood and wood products will only increase. Tasmania has unique opportunity to be able to step further into this space and help meet increasing consumer demand for sustainable wood products.

What do you see as the greatest opportunities for the Tasmanian forest industry?  

The opportunities provided through the carbon sequestration capacity of forestry and increasing demand for wood-based replacement products for plastic. Increased on-island processing is also an exciting opportunity for Tasmania. COVID has demonstrated how important onshore manufacturing is for a resilient economy.

As Minister for Resources, what aspirations or plans do you have to support our sector?  

Minister Ellis with his family

My aspiration is that Tasmanian forestry is best positioned to take advantage of the global low emissions future. The stars are aligning for forestry in Tasmania. With increasing demand for renewable timber, carbon sequestration, plastic alternatives and active landscape management, I want to ensure that Tasmanian forestry can make the most of the new era we are entering.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?   

I love spending time with my wife and young family. I volunteer with a local Surf Life Saving club and volunteer fire brigade. I also appreciate the odd hit of tennis and playing chess.

You are a proud Tasmanian. What do you think makes our state truly great or unique?  

The Tasmanian way of life is unmatched anywhere—it is truly the envy of the world. I wasn’t born here but they’ll need to take me out in a (wooden) box!

One thing many people don’t know about me is… 

I have a dog called Wombat.