THE Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Anne Ruston was guest speaker a Gottstein Trust/Forest Industry Advisory Council dinner in Melbourne on February 18.
The dinner was attended by more than 60 industry stakeholders and participants in the Gottstein Wood Science Course, which has been running all that week at the CSIRO Clayton precinct.
Speaking at a FIAC meeting prior to the dinner, Senator Ruston said a discussions paper was being developed on a national wood fibre plan. She said engaging the broader sector in planning for the future was a key consideration for the government.
“Indeed that is the thinking behind establishing FIAC – to be able to have informed industry input into our policies and programs,” she said.
“This forum is continuing to advance the industry, and FIAC meeting brought us together to discuss the future of the sector, and the challenges and opportunities before us.”
Senator Ruston said FIAC was a key mechanism in working closely with the industry, citing the council’s strategic directions issues paper calling for ideas and submissions.
“We have received more than 70 submissions, generating plenty of food for thought,” she said.
“We will continue to work with the people our policies affect in planning for a sustainable forest future.”
Senator Ruston co-chairs FIAC with Rob de Fégely, national president of the Institute of Foresters with support from nine other members and four observers with expertise from across the forestry sector.
She added: “Australia’s forest and wood product sector is a great contributor to our nation, both in terms of the jobs and wealth created, but also for its principles of sustainability.
“The greatest environmental and economic benefit for Australia comes from managing our forests sustainably, and this is an industry underpinned by sustainable practices.
“The government is equally committed to sustainable management of these resources, and are putting in a range of measures to that end.”
Senator Ruston said the federal government was working toward establishing rolling 20-year RFAs to provide security and stability, and would continue to work to combat illegal logging globally, and in Australia.
“Groups like FIAC and courses like the Gottstein Wood Science Course help to spread these principles and skills throughout the industry,” she said.
THE Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Anne Ruston was guest speaker a Gottstein Trust/Forest Industry Advisory Council dinner in Melbourne on February 18.
A BUILT environment specialist, an architect and a resources policy expert have been awarded Gottstein fellowships for 2016 in a selection process by board members of the educational industry trust fund.
The three applications were successful after interviews by Gottstein trustees in Melbourne on February 19:
• Perry Forsyth, professor, built environment, University of Technology Sydney.
• Gavin Matthew, manger, processing, Australian Forest Products Association, Canberra.
• Kim Baber, architect, Baber Studio, Brisbane.
Prof. Forsyth, who has a strong mix of research, teaching, academic, managerial and practical experience obtained in the construction industry over a 35-year period, will use his fellowship to study timber design, construction, manufacture and assembly in Canada, the US, Germany and Austria, looking at future housing needs.
Gavin Matthew’s focus at AFP includes policy development, contract administration and coordination, industry statistics and economic analysis, certification and standards review. His attention is also on federal government and industry policies on the forest, wood and paper products supply chain.
With a degree of Bachelor of Science (Forestry), Mr Matthew’s Gottstein fellowship study will examine genetic modification research and deployment in plantation forestry in New Zealand and Brazil.
‘Innovative timber structures using multi-axis machining of embers’ is the study theme on visits to Japan and Switzerland by Kim Baber, who with his wife Monique runs an architecture and design practice at their Baber Studio in Brisbane’s West End.
Mr Baber has performed lead roles for a range of large-scale commercial and institutional buildings as well as significant urban design and master planning projects. In 2012, he completed his Masters by Design (Architecture Department, UQ), and now regularly lectures at the School of Architecture, University of Queensland.
The Joseph William Gottstein Memorial Trust Fund was established in 1971 as a national education trust to promote the development of Australia’s forest products industry through the pursuit of excellence in people, processes and products.
The fun recognises Bill Gottstein, a forest products research scientist with CSIRO who was tragically killed in 1971 while photographing a tree-felling operation in New Guinea
The Gottstein Trust provides financial support to people wanting to further their education, develop new skills and continue contributing to the industry through their professional development.
Over the years, more than 100 fellowships have been awarded to members of the industry, many of whom now have senior responsibility for many forestry or forest products organisations.
Four new Gottstein trustees were introduced at the Melbourne meeting – John Simon, chairman of Forest and Wood Products Australia, Suzette Weeding, general manager, forest management, Forestry Tasmania, Jason Wilson, general manager, Auswest Timbers, and James Malone, CEO, Wesbeam.
They join Brian Farmer, CEO, HQPlantations Pty Ltd (chairman), Ric Sinclair, managing director, Forest and Wood Products Australia, Nils Gunnersen, executive director, Gunnersen, and Glenn Britton, managing director, Britton Timbers.
The Gottstein interviews coincided with a special Gottstein-Forest Industry Advisory Council dinner in Brisbane and the Gottstein Wood Science Course, one of the most successful since its inception in 1978.
The course, coordinated by former CSIRO scientist Dr Silvia Pongracic, continues to attract delegates from different sectors with different levels of understanding and background of the industry.
Applications are now open for the 2017 Gottstein fellowships. Contact the secretary, J.W. Gottstein Memorial Trust Fund, PO Box 330, Hamilton Central, Q 4007
REGISTRATIONS remain open for the Gottstein Wood Science course in February, lauded for many years as the most important industry educational event of its kind.
A host of top-flight speakers have been confirmed for the event in Melbourne to be held at the CSIRO Clayton precinct from February 15 to 19 and supported by CSIRO and the University of Melbourne.
The Gottstein Memorial Trust organises the annual week-long courses in wood science for those people new to the forest products industry, including executives.
“The courses, provide a deeper understanding of wood and the properties that affect its processing and end uses,” course coordinator Dr Silvia Pongracic said.
“The presenters provide a comprehensive coverage of the scientific aspects of wood utilisation, from the biological structure of a tree to the latest trends in processes and uses.”
Since 1978, 21 wood science courses have attracted more than 700 senior executives and potential managers.
The course covers both hardwood and softwood anatomy, processing and the benefits of the timber industry overall.
The Gottstein Trust has been assisting people in the forest and wood products sector with development opportunities for more than 40 years.
Information about the wood science course program and registrations should be directed to Dr Silvia Pongracic on 0418 764 954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The following speakers have been confirmed for the course.
Phillip Blackwell – forestry consultant and part-time lecturer at the University of Melbourne. Phillip holds a Masters of Forestry and in his spare time renovates houses.
Kevin Ezard – marketing consultant and conference director of Frame Australia, the major national event for engineered timber and building prefabrication.
Prof. Ian Ferguson – professor emeritus, University of Melbourne, a distinguished forest scientist.
Prof. Gil Garnier – director of BioPria and of the Australian Pulp and Paper Institute, who has experience in the pulp and paper industries in Canada, the US and Australia and is passionate about the future of wood fibre.
Dave Gover – CEO, Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia. A New Zealand forestry engineer, he has experience in softwood and hardwood engineered wood products in Australian and New Zealand.
Vince Hurley – CEO, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, the largest hardwood sawmill in Australia and vice-present Victorian Association of Forest Industries.
Dr Jugo Ilic – Associate Professor with the University of Melbourne who runs the Know Your Wood consultancy. He has more than 35 years’ experience at CSIRO, focusing on the anatomy and functionality of wood.
Boris Iskra – standards manager, FWPA, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the forest and wood products sector. He is a structural engineer with a recent focus on building fire safety and risk.
Colin Stucley – director of Enecon Pty Ltd. He specialises in the efficient conversion of waste wood to energy.
Dr Barrie May – managing director of TreeMod, an environmental consultancy. He has a background in forestry and worked with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences focusing on carbon accounting and life cycle assessment.
Cameron MacDonald – chief operating officer, HVP Plantations, is a forester with an MBA and has more than 25 years’ experience in both the plantation and native forest sector, covering both operational and finance roles. He is a director of the Australian Forest Products Association.
Andrew Morton – a director at IndurFor Australasia with more than 20 years’ experience in international strategic consulting in the forest and wood products sector. He is involved with due diligence with forestry and plantations valuations, mergers and acquisitions.
Jack Norton – a chemist with over 40 years’ experience in providing advice, education and research services in wood protection. He is a member of the International Research Group on Wood Protection and is secretary of the Timber Preservers Association of Australia.
Sean O’Malley – has trained as an ecologist in the UK and currently works in carbon and ecological footprinting, energy efficiency and many other environmentally slanted projects. He also worked in areas such as innovation, product development and labelling and production.
Associate Professor Barbara Ozarska – principal research fellow with the University of Melbourne. She has 30 years’ experience in the forest and wood products industry in Australia focusing on secondary products.
Mat Thomsen – an optimisation engineer at Hyne TrueFrame. He has over 15 years’ experience in the softwood sawmilling sector throughout North America and Australasia.
THE Gottstein Memorial Trust, the national education trust for the forest and wood product industries, has been assisting people in the sector with development opportunities for more than 40 years.
The 22nd Gottstein Wood Science Course will be held at the CSIRO Clayton, Vic, precinct from February 15 to 19 next year with the assistance of CSIRO and the University of Melbourne. The course is aimed at delegates from across Australia who may be working in the wood products industry but may have no formal learning of the industry.
The course covers both hardwood and softwood anatomy, processing and benefits of the timber industry overall.
“It is an excellent overview of the Australian industry and has been well received by past participants,” course director Dr Silvia Pongracic said.
The Gottstein Wood Science Course has run every two years since its inception in 1978 and continues to attract delegates from different areas of the industry with different levels of understanding and background of the industry.
Comments provided by the delegates at previous courses include, “It was fabulous to meet passionate individuals from the industry”, and, “I will have a greater respect for the material and all the different aspects of wood”.
When asked about the personal benefits of the course, responses included, “it was great to get exposure to others in the supply chain and their issues”, and, “greatly increased my knowledge of wood and the whole timber industry”.
Details and further information is available from Silvia Pongracic on 0418 764 954 or email email@example.com
AUSTRALIA’S forest industry should establish a business case for direct government investment in growing trees to establish critical mass in timber resources, based on benefits for the public good.
That’s one of the conclusions by Cameron MacDonald, chief operating officer at HVP Plantations, who has returned from a Gottstein fellowship study mission to industry operations in Europe.
Mr MacDonald said Ireland was investing $15,580,000 (about €100m) a year on establishing a private plantation resource based on a business case developed by a respected economist.
“The business case established that the returns to Irish economy would exceed the government’s initial investment,” Mr MacDonald said.
“The rationale that underpins this investment could be a model for securing government investment in Australia,” he said.
“Forest management services funded through compulsory levies or direct government support is critical to develop private growers’ knowledge in growing trees and faith in timber markets.”
Mr MacDonald said Finland had established a management service network for private growers through a compulsory levy system facilitated by a significant established resource base.
“Ireland has established a similar network by allocating a fixed proportion of government grants for the establishment of plantations to the contractor workforce charged with putting the trees in the ground,” he said.
“Resource and market information is critical to private growers; the Irish government has developed site productivity information to ensure planting programs funded by government target suitable sites.
“An NGO in Finland, supported by government contract work, has developed systems skills that are not only utilised locally but have been taken to the world through Finnish-sponsored foreign aid programs.
Mr MacDonald said private landowner support to provide the land base for plantation investment was critical for ensuring a sustainable estate was established.
Growers had a voice in the establishment and/or management of the private resource in both Ireland and Finland, primarily through peak agricultural bodies. This enabled the industry (private, industrial and processing) to present a united voice to government that facilitated establishing a positive policy environment for the industry rather than one where government could sit on the fence and point to industry dissent.
“A closer working relationship with the National Farmers Federation in Australia is a logical starting point for the forest industry in Australia,” Mr MacDonald said.
Even though Mr MacDonald says he was aware of the market distortions created by the European Union, and more specifically the Common Agriculture Policy, he “naively latched on to the fact” that Ireland had established 200,000 ha of private plantations as a possible solution to Australia’s inability to fund investment in long rotation plantations.
“While I quickly learnt that politically Europe is a totally different proposition relative to Australia, there are still concepts and approaches that we can learn from here,” he said.
Mr MacDonald encouraged readers of his report to take an open mind to the contents, and before they denounced some of the ideas as “never working here”, they should consider the thought process that has been followed, and more importantly how the needs of a key stakeholder (i.e. the landowner) have been placed front and centre in both expanding the resource base but also building a powerful coalition for the industry more broadly.
In background comments to the report, Mr MacDonald said both Ireland and England entered the 20th century with very little forest cover; <1% and 5% respectively, essentially caused by deforestation to facilitate agricultural expansion.
The lack of timber resources meant that England nearly ran out of domestic timber supplies during World War 1, resulting in programs to re-establish plantations on government land.
Today, the UK Forestry Commission has more than 250,000 ha of commercial plantation in consolidated blocks, 75% of which is conifer species – Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) in the uplands and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in the lowlands.
There have been various grant schemes to encourage planting on private land over the last 90 years, particularly in the UK where more than 1.3 million ha of woodland has been established in parcels averaging 13 ha, of which 75% are broad-leaved species.
Central to the provision of these grants has been funding from the European Union of up to 70% of the cost of the various schemes, linked to two complementary policy objectives:
• To reduce the over-production of food in the EU by diverting up to 15% of marginal farmland into alternative land use, primarily to grow trees.
• Increasing forest cover in countries that had experienced significant deforestation, such as Ireland and the UK.
With the EU funding has come certain requirements, particularly in terms of environmental constraints. The key requirement is a cap on the area planted under exotic species in a given compartment, which is currently set at 65%.
“The government has been clever in how the payments have been structured (as distinct from a simple tax deduction of 48.5c in the dollar to wealthy investors in MIS schemes in Australia),” Mr MacDonald said.
The measures to protect the government investment and to ensure ongoing investment in plantation forestry include:
• About 40% of the grant is allocated to pay consultants to submit the grant application and to forest management contractors to do the work. This is to avoid landowners seeking to take short-cuts, but also a key element of the business case for government funding is to develop employment opportunities in depressed regional communities.
• Not all the premium is paid up front. A proportion is held in reserve until age four until the performance of the stand is assessed by a registered forestry consultant or the Forestry Service to ensure the stand has met a minimum performance standard.
• The site must pass a strict assessment of the productivity and growth potential to ensure the benefit of the investment is maximised in terms of saleable product.
Perhaps most importantly, Mr MacDonald said, the land was permanently classified for timber production and a condition of the felling licence was that the landowner had to re-establish the next stand at their own expense.
He said grants, premiums and profits from sale of produce were tax free in Ireland and the UK.
“The Irish government is considering putting a cap on the tax-free amount of €125k per annum (about $A39,200) which would be breached if a farmer were to clearfall more than 6 ha in any one yea,” Mr MacDonald said.
“In addition to the up-front payments, farmers can apply for additional payments for activities conducted over the lifetime of the plantation.”
Note: HVP Plantations owns 160,000 ha of softwood and hardwood plantations in Victoria, selling around 3 million tonnes of log products a year to sawmills and paper mills.
Cameron MacDonald graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1989 with a Bachelor of Forest Science (Hons) and has subsequently gained a post-graduate degree in accounting and a MBA from the Melbourne Business School. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry in both the plantation and native forest sector covering both operational and finance roles.
Mutual benefits are evident in a connection between the Institute of Foresters of Australia and the J.W. Gottstein Memorial Trust, says IFA CEO Bob Gordon.
He was addressing a meeting of Gottstein trustees held at the FWPA offices in Melbourne.
Established in 1935, IFA is a professional body with more than 1100 members engaged in all branches of forest management and conservation,
Membership represents all segments of the forestry profession, including public and private practitioners engaged in many aspects of forestry, nature conservation, resource and land management, research, administration and education.
Mr Gordon said IFA looked to sharing common interests with the Gottstein Trust. Many IFA members were themselves former Gottstein fellows.
Gottstein fellowships are open to industry and are awarded to people from or associated with Australian forest and wood product industries to further their experience, education or training either within or outside Australia by undertaking a project.
Appropriate project topics are listed on the Gottstein website www.gottsteintrust.org.
Gottstein Trust chairman Brian Farmer said candidates would be selected on the value of the project.
“Applications focusing on small group study tours will be favourably viewed, although any relevant project topic may be proposed.”
Applications for each category will be considered by the trustees and promising applicants will be selected for interviews in October this year. New closing date for applications is September March 25, 2015.
Founded in 1971 to recognise the services of the late CSIRO scientist Bill Gottstein, the trust has awarded more than 200 fellowships, industry awards and scholarships.
“The trust creates opportunities for selected persons to acquire knowledge through Gottstein fellowships aimed at promoting the welfare of Australia’s forest industries across all sectors,” Mr Farmer said.The trust also runs forestry and wood science courses, alternatively, each year.
The next week-long Gottstein wood science course will be held at Creswick, Vic, in February next year, covering all aspects of wood processing.
The Gottstein trustees are considering a Gottstein appreciation dinner in Melbourne next year to follow the wood science course and details will appear soon on the Gottstein web site.
Information about Gottstein Trust fellowship and application details are available from the national secretary, PO Box 330, Hamilton Central, Qld, 4007. Tel: (07) 3262 3001. Mob: 0401 312 087. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and registration details for the Gottstein Wood Science course should be directed to Dr Silvia Pongracic at Private Bag 10, Clayton South, Vic 3169. Tel: 0418 764 954. Email: email@example.com
The 2015 Gottstein Forest Science Course will run from 16-20th February 2015 at Creswick, Victoria and is now open for registrations. Use the on line registration at the Gottstein Trust website or download the course program.
In collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the Institute of Foresters of Australia, the week long course will provide an overview of issues facing the Australian forest industry and provide an insight into the management of natural and planted forests in Australia.
The Gottstein Forest Science Course is aimed at those who do not have formal training in Forestry but who may be working in the forest industries in Australia. It touches on, but does not dwell upon, the emotional regard in which forests are held, and the course focus is instead on the science of forest management.
For further information contact Dr Silvia Pongracic, Course Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Gottstein Trust has partnered with Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) to support up to 6 young engineers to attend the World Congress on Timber Engineering in Canada in August 2014.
This exciting initiative will enable engineers with less than 5 years experience and who are working for companies that are both members of the FWPA and Patrons of the Gottstein Trust attend the Congress and be up to date with the latest thinking on timber engineering world wide.
This activity will complement another FWPA program that supports Australian engineering students to attend the World Congress on Timber Engineering and is also consistent with the results of the recent industry survey undertaken by the Gottstein Trust to encourage more focussed study tours and market development activities.
Recently graduated engineers who fulfil the criteria of being employed by a company that is a Patron of the Gottstein Trust and a member of FWPA are encouraged to contact the Gottstein Trust for further information – contact the Gottstein Trust
The Gottstein Trust is pleased to announce the launch of its new look website and the refined focus of the Trust’s activities. Brian Farmer, Chairman of the Gottstein Trust, says “The Gottstein Trust has served the forest and wood products industry well for the last 40 years, and now it is time to refine some of the activities. Being the national education trust for the forest and wood products industries the Trust deserves a modern and functional website to better inform viewers of what the Trust does, and what it has achieved since its inception.
Over the past 6 months the Secretary to the Trust, Silvia Pongracic, has liaised with the website developer to enable on-line applications for awards and for the wood and forestry science courses run by the Gottstein Trust.
With the industry survey undertaken in December 2013, the Gottstein Trust was encouraged by the level of recognition in the industry and also the level of support provided by industry participants. “The Gottstein Trust cannot continue it’s activities without the annual donations provided by many companies,” explained Brian Farmer, “and we had to make sure that we were still relevant to the industry of 2014. We received many good suggestions from the industry survey and seek to do a follow-up in two years time to see whether we have changed in a way that better suits our industry.”