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AFPA’s Greg McCormack to step down and Diana Gibbs to step in

Diana Gibbs and Greg McCormack

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) chair, Greg McCormack, is stepping down from the role after 11 years. He will be replaced by AFPA director Diana Gibbs who was unanimously endorsed by the AFPA directors. Source: Timberbiz

An agro-economist, Ms Gibbs, has served on the AFPA Board since 2019.

The handover will occur following AFPA’s 2022 Forest Industries Gala Dinner, in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra on 14 September.

“It has been an enormous honour to fill this leadership role and advance, with the AFPA staff, the mission of ensuring our sustainable, renewable forest industries take their rightful place in the mainstream of Australia’s thinking,” Mr McCormack, who is also retiring from the board at the Annual General Meeting in November, said.

“Twelve years ago we set out to unite the industry under one banner, to take our message into the corridors of power more effectively and explain to politicians and the broader community just how vital it is for Australia to have strong, growing forest industries.

“Although the journey is far from over, I am delighted that we secured $300 million in new funding commitments from the Federal Government at the last election, have bipartisan support for planting one billion additional timber production trees, a newly announced $100 million forest industries research centre and recognition in policies that our industry is vital if we are to meet more ambitious climate goals,” he said.

“I’m also very proud of the continued support AFPA has provided Australia’s native forestry industries, including telling the story of how critical native hardwood timber products are in our lives and homes. We must keep arguing the climate and economic benefits of keeping our native industries strong into the future.

“It is now time for others to take forward the vision. I look forward to seeing even more success as our industries really carry so many answers to some of the world’s biggest problems.”

Diana Gibbs is a resource economist with a Master in Environmental Studies and has more than forty years’ experience as a consultant working across the forestry, agriculture, and mining sectors, with specific experience on economic assessment and strategic planning issues associated with forestry.

She is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants of Australia, the Environment Institute of Australia and has served on the AFPA Board since 2019. Diana is also currently a Director of Agrifutures Australia, Riverina Local Land Services, the Murray Region Forest Industries Hub, and Softwoods Working Group.

She has previously served as a Director with many organisations, including the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation, NSW Rural Assistance Authority and NSW Climate Change Council, as well as being a Council Member with the Australian Conservation Foundation. She has also chaired the NSW Regional Communities Consultative Council and the Bid Development Team for the Smarter Regions CRC.

She completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Graduate Diploma in 2003 and was included in the Australian list of “100 Women of Influence in Agriculture” in 2014.

“It’s extremely humbling to step into the shoes of an industry statesman like Greg McCormack,” she said.

“Greg has played such an enormous role in forest industries in this nation and done so much good, it is impossible to do full justice to his achievements. For my part, I will continue, as Greg has done, to vigorously prosecute the role of forest industries as a crucial part of a carbon constrained future and a sustainable driver of regional economies.  I look forward to working with the Albanese Government to deliver regional growth and a real contribution to the path to net zero, via a strong forest sector.

“This is a win, win, win for our country if it is done correctly. Planting many more production trees will help meet carbon goals, grow more timber to house our children and supply essentials such as food packaging and toilet paper, and at the same time continue to support jobs in regional communities.”

Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said Mr McCormack had been a globally respected forest industry leader for decades.

“For the past eleven years he has been the clear, strong voice for our industries and taken our cause up before everyone from Prime Ministers, Premiers, Ministers and Shadow Ministers and other commodity leaders,” Mr Hampton said.

“Greg has been a voice of reason and never shied from the difficult issues, overseeing the growth of AFPA from a very modest organisation to a formidable advocacy Association with 17 staff around the nation. Under Greg the vision of ‘one voice’ has been growing ever more real.”