The Forest Products Commission is continuing to make good progress to ensure that it and the forest products industry are well positioned to meet future challenges and opportunities.
Since joining the Commission in June 2016 I have met a number of key stakeholders to learn and discuss our role and activities.
Key themes from the year have been around strengthening collaboration with industry and community, recovering from the Waroona bushfire and developing a new structure for the Western Australian sandalwood industry. All of this occurred while we continued our day-to-day operations – planning, harvesting, regeneration of forest and focussing on efficiency and safety.
During the devastating January Waroona fire, our staff worked alongside the Department of Parks and Wildlife to assist with the fire-fighting effort. The fire resulted in the loss of 3,300 hectares of plantation resource.
Following the fire staff worked quickly to identify opportunities to salvage timber. In addition to supplying timber to our current domestic customers, new markets were identified which has helped offset the salvage and clean-up costs ahead of new plantings.
We consulted with sandalwood stakeholders ahead of key sales, processing and marketing contracts coming to an end. The new industry arrangements have been designed to ensure market stability, to create opportunities for new entrants, and to increase regional and Aboriginal outcomes.
The strategy will also assist with a smooth transition to a mix of wild and plantation based sandalwood industries into the future.
New investments and developments by the forest industry sector are very positive and important innovations for the future of the forest products industry. The investment in technologies and processing enables the use of available regrowth and lower grade timber resources. This is important as this resource will form a major part of the industry going forward.
The reopening of the Greenbushes sawmill in February 2016 has provided a significant boost to the native forest sector and local communities.
We have a holistic corporate governance system incorporating our Risk Management Framework to identify and mitigate strategic and operational risks, and to drive continuous improvement.
The strategic planning process has commenced to ensure we focus on the key areas of our business and look forward to a productive 2016–17.
I have been impressed by the passion and commitment of our employees and would like to thank the Executive and staff for their hard work over the last 12 months.
Mr Stuart West | General Manager
9 September 2016