Australasia's home for timber news and information

Merger between IFA and AFG one step closer

Sarah Paradice

Exciting times are ahead for the Institute of Foresters of Australia (IFA) and Australian Forest Growers (AFG) as they facilitate Extraordinary General Meetings for their members to vote on the proposed merger of IFA and AFG, a proposal endorsed by both boards of the two not-for-profit entities. The proposed merger was raised at both AGMs held in September and was met with approval by those who attended. Source: Timberbiz

The AFG EGM is scheduled for 6pm AEDT tomorrow (Wednesday 19 December) with IFA’s to be scheduled in January 2019.

The IFA is Australia’s only professional body for foresters and other forestry professionals and AFG is the only national association representing and promoting private forestry and commercial tree growing interests in Australia. It makes sense for them to combine forces.

Commencing in April 2015, Sarah Paradice was charged with looking for opportunities for the organisations to work more collaboratively, streamline back office functions and secure cost savings. This has been successful, culminating in many combined activities such as the bi-monthly magazine IFA’s The Forester incorporating AFG’s Australian Forest Grower plus the combined IFA-AFG Forests for healthy cities, farms and people conference held at University House, ANU in September.

It bodes well for the future of a merged entity; members of both IFA and AFG have enjoyed the benefits of the closer working relationship. Two AFG board members will be appointed to the IFA board to represent private forestry and farm forestry interests within IFA, with funds being secured in an education trust for farm forestry activities such as peer group mentoring programs and AFG’s annual Australian Forest Grower magazine.

To better serve members, IFA and ultimately the merged entity, will also outsource key functions to an organisation called Professionals Australia. Based in Melbourne but with offices in all major capital cities, Professionals Australia is well equipped to assist members with powerful and accurate membership, finance and website tools at their fingertips.

Additionally, members will have access to more cost competitive professional indemnity insurance and a members’ card to access discounts at many retail outlets, fuel stations and supermarket stores.

The Canberra office will be relocating to Melbourne as a result and will close on 20 December 2018, reopening in Melbourne on 14 January 2019.

After nearly four years with IFA and AFG, Ms Paradice is making a move to be CEO of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council and will be leaving on 20 December. Plans are underway for the recruitment of an executive officer to be based in Melbourne in the Professionals Australia office.

It is envisaged that, with the support of Professionals Australia, the new EO will focus on building the entity to be a peak professional body engaged in all branches of forest management and conservation in Australia, in addition to representing and promoting forestry and commercial tree growing interests.

The organisation will continue to be strongly committed to the principles of sustainable forest management and the processes and practices which translate these principles into outcomes.