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Friday analysis: Resignations leave timber industry all the poorer

Ric Sinclair

From time to time, people enter the timber industry, sometimes from left field, and makes a huge difference to the industry as a whole. Forest and Wood Products Australia Managing Director Ric Sinclair and Australian Forest Contractors Association general manager Stacey Gardiner were such people.

Mr Sinclair surprised pretty much everyone this week when this week he announced his resignation from the organisation after 13 years in the job.

With a background in the grocery and food industry he set about re-shaping the industry.

He established a fruitful partnership with Planet Ark, created WoodSolutions, saw through changes to the National Construction Code, created ForestLearning to provide teaching materials to schools; and founded the National Centre for Timber Durability and Design Life.

Mr Sinclair has also been instrumental in building stronger relationships with Government and other Rural Research and Development Corporations.

And of course there was the development of the ‘Ultimate Renewable’ brand.

As Australian Forest Products Association CEO Ross Hampton said, Mr Sinclair has led FWPA through challenging periods, including major market fluctuations, significant bushfires and COVID closures.

It is one very impressive CV, and he will be hard to replace.

Ms Gardiner was responsible for establishing the AFCA’s first strategic plan and her efforts in restructuring the organisation’s administration and service delivery functions have been recognised.

She leaves after six-and-half-years in the role, having done well to collaborate successfully with a range of stakeholders to deliver projects that promote and improve safety outcomes for members and forest contracting businesses nationally.

It is also sad to note that this week saw COVID again claim the Green Triangle Timber Industry Awards night.

The awards night, last held in 2019, is a great celebration of the timber industry in the Green Triangle and provides a fantastic opportunity to not also showcase those who seek to excel in their field but also the chance for an end of year industry catch-up.

That type of get together – the chance to swap valuable “war” stories – has been sadly missing from the timber industry across the world.

But, like everywhere else, cross border travel restrictions and with the health and safety of attendees in mind, the GTTIA awards night had go on pause, rescheduled until early next year.

Once the borders are open, and it feels free to travel and get together once again, the night will thankfully go ahead.

It should be a great night. There is so much to talk about and celebrate.