On Wednesday evening the 9th of May 2018 the Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network was officially launched with a dinner at the Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart.
It is a pleasure for me to provide you with the background, role and purpose, and future aspiration of the Tasmanian Forests and Forest Product Network.
The Network will play a leadership role for the industry into the future as the social, economic and environmental conditions change rapidly, including increased demand for wood and wood fibre products worldwide, and community expectations demand sustainability of our resources.
In terms of background, there was for some time, a growing desire from sectors of the industry for an Umbrella organisation that would bring together all sectors across the forests, fine timber and wood fibre industry on matters of common interest.
This was realised in the Strategic Growth Plan released in March 2017 and endorsed by industry leaders which recommended the establishment of a ‘whole of value chain’ umbrella organisation. The Plan says, such an organisation would provide a platform for greater cohesion, collaboration, and the sharing of information.’
This support for the concept prompted the Tasmanian Government to provide unencumbered seed funding to enable the concept to be independently moved forward. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Minister Barnett for his commitment to the concept.
Consultations across the Industry conducted by Greg Ray and Tom Fisk, led to the establishment of the Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network to act as a central point to represent the shared views, concerns and expectations of those sectors and those people employed across the value chain.
The Network will provide an inclusive, open and transparent platform on industry matters for all those people who either work within or who support a productive, sustainable, and profitable industry in Tasmania.
Membership is open to all those who work within or have an interest in the continued future development of a sustainable and profitable forest and timber products industry.
The core benefit of membership ensures all of those who rely on the industry – both directly and indirectly – are empowered to personally influence the future development and sustainability of the industry.
More specifically the agreed role for the Network will be as a communication hub, to provide, and exchange information on issues, innovation, policy, successes, across the value chain to facilitate knowledge sharing and learning, which in turn, will encourage better integration of talents and resources to show case AND better strategically market Tasmania’s timber products.
At its best, the Network will also provide a focal point for government to exchange views and dialogue on high level issues, or policy of common interest across the sector, to help inform government decision making and public policy.
It will foster Research and Innovation, and increased application of of technology and science.
It will promote skills development and career paths across the industry.
It will assist in the development of a positive investment environment.
It will provide a rationalised and affordable regulatory system.
It will improve public knowledge, awareness and understanding of forest issues.
This may be through a range of activities and strategies, including the website, social media, the Annual Forum, regional forums, networking events, social events, partnering, and working together with member organisations and others to broaden the Network reach and influence.
A Governance Structure has been put in place, a Board is being established and the role and purpose is being defined by industry leaders across the sectors.
However I cannot emphasise enough that the Network is in its formative stage. It is up to members to shape the way the Network will function and work together. The Launch is the beginning of this process rather than the end. Early success indicators for The Network will include:
- The diversity of its membership across the designers, craftsmen, growers and processes,
- Support from industry leaders both financial and real
- Acceptance of its role as the collective voice, and the credibility of its industry representation
- The workforce development and career opportunities it can help generate.
The Network is already working with a number of organisations and initiatives in the areas of skill development, community engagement and branding.
May 9, 2018