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Friday analysis: Thank you Penny Wells

Penny Wells

Penny Wells’ decision to step down from the role of Chief Executive Officer of Private Forests Tasmania is a huge blow to that State’s timber industry.

It’s possible that no one has worked harder for the timber industry in Tasmania over the past five years than Penny.

After those five years in the role Penny is stepping down to take care of her health. She will continue to work part time to assist the new CEO settle in.

Penny Wells has made a significant and sustained contribution to the Tasmanian Timber Industry for more than 30 years of working within and around the industry.

During this time, she has been joint owner of a small family sawmill (processing special species timbers), has worked with land management and development agencies within the Tasmanian Government, and worked with Forestry Tasmania as a forest planner.

Penny was part of the team who negotiated the original Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for Tasmania in 1997, led the negotiations to extend the RFA in 2017 and worked with the forest industry to develop the 2017 forest industry growth strategy.

She has experience on the Board of the Forest Practices Authority, the National Forestry and Forest Products Committee, and for the four years prior to her appointment as PFT CEO in 2018, was the Director of Forest Policy in the Department of State Growth.

In 2019 her work was recognized with the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Timber Industry (female) at the Tasmanian Timber Awards.

Penny’s contributions to the industry have been far and wide, but she has a few contributions she considers highlights of her career.

“I think being involved in the development of the original 1997 Tasmanian Regional Forest Agreement was a significant contribution,” she said following the 2019 award.

“I led the team which recently worked to extend the Regional Forest Agreement to become a 20- year rolling agreement in 2017. This work is the most significant thing I feel as though I have achieved.

“The Regional Forest Agreement means that the State’s comprehensive Forest Management System is accredited by the Commonwealth of Australia. For Tasmania, this means all our forest operations only require State approvals.”

The Chair of Private Forests Tasmania Board Evan Rolley said this week PFT had been very fortunate to have Penny’s experience and passion at the helm.

Thank you, Penny.

May you spend many, many happy years growing trees on your family property.