Hub Update: How do we win the first and the last kilometre?

It has been great to bring the family back to Tasmania, start work and give something back to the industry that helped launch my career and enabled me to work across the world for many leading companies.

Three weeks in, my first impressions are that so much has changed, and for the better with companies aligned on common goals, new production facilities, investment in people and new ways of value adding. These are all common themes. From the innovation at CUSP through to Forico’s industry leading Natural Capital Report and then…..  400 people at the Forestry Australia Conference in Launceston last week and over 450 people at the Industry Awards night last month.

Simon riding a MTB through well-managed Sheffield plantations, farms and STT forests (existing together)….a world away from nearly two weeks locked up in Melbourne.

I see green shoots and, as my Grandfather would put it; an industry that has its swagger back. But of course there is still so much more to do and now is not the time to be complacent, in fact we need to be nimble and  faster than ever to meet the future opportunities.

We need to win in the first kilometer and the last kilometer – what do I mean by this?

The first Kilometer –  right tree, right location, right access, right infrastructure (roads, bridges, efficient haulage, streamlined regs).

And the last Kilometer-  delivering the right treatment, to the right market, well branded, at the right price!

And as discussed at the recent Hub Steering Committee, we need to pick clear, measurable, effective actions and drive these hard (more to come on this).

We have many data points, consultancy reports, themes and a Hub Road Map detailing what we need to do; but it is apparent that one thing is missing and that is: what is our destination? What does 2050 look like for our sector– The Opportunity or the Vision?

If we can work that out, we can then work back and say, for us to be a $3B+ sector to the Tasmanian economy we need this innovation, this policy, this infrastructure and this many people.

The good news is that we have a good basis point from which to build the 2050 Opportunity– that being the Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmania Forests, Fine Timber and Wood Fibre Industry.

The bad news is that many other allied sectors are ahead of us and this could impact our ability to secure land, talent and co-investment, for example:

Agriculture has the Growing Tasmania Agriculture 2050, and the horticulture and viticulture industries are developing a plan. The salmon industry, through the Premier’s Office, has released a 10 Year Vision.

I look forward discussing this and also visiting our processing facilities and production forests over the next few weeks.

Simon Talbot

General Manager, Tasmania Forestry Hub