MEDIA RELEASE – 19 April 2021

Liberal government to improve diversity in forest industry

The Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network welcomes the announcement that a re-elected majority Tasmanian Liberal government will partner with the Network to invest in the establishment of a Diversity Action Plan to increase the gender and cultural diversity of the resources sector.

Recent industry reports, including, ‘A Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmanian forests, fine timber and wood fibre industry’(2017), ‘Northern Tasmania Regional Forestry Hub: Culture, Training and Skills Assessment’ Report (2020), and the ‘Tasmanian Forest Industry Workforce Development Plan’ discussion paper (2021), have all highlighted the lack of workforce diversity as a significant issue affecting the future of forestry in the state—particularly in regional and remote areas.

TFFPN Convenor, Therese Taylor said she believes this brings with it a considerable opportunity to develop a new, robust, skills-based forestry workforce that is more reflective of the broader community in which it is based.

“The evidence from these reports suggests that the industry across the different sectors is experiencing significant issues attracting a diversity of cohorts from the community—specifically women, young people, and recent migrants—to its workforce,” Ms Taylor said.

“We know that women currently comprise only 16% of the forest sector, but we also know that diversity outcomes are proven to increase productivity and improve culture in the workplace.

“Improved diversity outcomes will benefit the whole forest and forest products industry, which is a central driver for the Tasmanian economy.”

Ms Taylor said research and consultation with industry also affirms its commitment to broadening and bolstering its workforce with a range of skilled workers.

“Some industry participants are already employing attraction strategies and initiatives targeted at improving diversity, and while this direction is promising, the TFFPN believes a whole-of-industry approach is required to make lasting change,” she said.

If re-elected, the Tasmanian Liberal Government will, as part of this commitment to diversity, work hand in hand with industry to engage three new female and three Aboriginal trainees over the next two years.

Media enquiries:

Romany Brodribb- Manager Communications, TFFPN

0438 368 079.