By Monika Winston, General Manager of the Northern Tasmania Regional Forestry Hub
It was a typically hot and windy Melbourne summer’s day when I first met with Therese Taylor, TFFPN’s Network Convener, in December last year. Therese was energetically describing the important work the Network was doing in the ultimate renewable space, and I immediately knew that I wanted to be involved.
Fast forward two months and I was disembarking the Spirit of Tasmania in Devonport with my husband, being welcomed to Tasmania on an atypically hot forty degree summer’s day. While we drove to Hobart I contemplated the beginning of our new journey on this picturesque Island, and as we passed through the nature I thought about the impactful work I would have the opportunity to drive as part of my new role.
Starting a new role affords you the luxury to meet with eminent people in your industry. In my first month as General Manager of the Hub I have had the opportunity to meet with many key people in the forestry community and industry. I have spoken with government officials with impressive forestry backgrounds, university researchers with equally impressive PhDs, plantation owners with world class business acumen, and private growers with exceptional experience. All of these people had one thing in common, the drive and commitment to work together to create a bright future for our sustainable timber industry.
The importance and centrality of forestry to Tasmania cannot be overstated; 5,727 jobs generated, 3.4 million hectares of forested land, and $1.2 billion dollars of value created. These numbers are big, and a constant reminder that the work we are doing at the Hub needs to be focused on strengthening the future of forestry in Tasmania. All of us at the Hub take this obligation seriously, as we do our commitment to you, the forestry community.
Part of the Hub’s remit is to undertake a strategic assessment of the key factors impacting on the forest growing and forest processing sectors in order to identify opportunities for progress of the industry into the future. Last year, in consultation with key stakeholders within the forestry community, four strategic priority areas were identified. You can learn more about the priorities listed below here.
- Access to land and land use policy
- Supply chain and infrastructure
- Climate change and carbon policy
- Culture, skills and training
In the coming weeks we will send out a public expression of interest inviting experts in each of these priority areas to submit a proposal to produce the strategic assessments. Following a robust selection process, work on the strategic assessment reports will commence. It is important to me that the strategic assessments are truly reflective of our forestry community and take into account the viewpoints of key stakeholders like you. Stakeholder engagement will be a key part of the strategic assessment process, and a central part of the Hub’s approach moving forward. I hope that you will continue to be actively engaged with the Hub as we embark on this important and strategic work.
As the global landscape is quickly transforming before us and we go through challenging times, I look forward to doing all that I can to strengthen the future of forestry in Tasmania.