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New board at Forestry Australia

Matt de Jongh

Responsible Wood’s Matt de Jongh has been elected to the Forestry Australia board and Indufor’s Blair Freeman has been returned to the board at the recent National Symposium in Albury. Source: Timberbiz

Forestry Australia CEO Jacquie Martin said their appointments would help the organisation maintain momentum in advocating for members and the role of sustainable forestry in Australia.

Jacquie Martin

“I’m delighted to give a big welcome to new director Matt de Jongh and a big welcome back to returning Director Blair Freeman,” Ms Martin said.

Matt de Jongh is the Sustainability Manager for Responsible Wood and holds a Bachelor of Science (Forestry), ANU and a Graduate Certificate in Business Management, UNE. Mr de Jongh is a forester with over 20 years’ experience in both operational and policy roles.

As an operational forester for about 11 years, he managed both naåtive and plantation forests, with Forestry Corporation of NSW, in various locations throughout regional NSW, also spending time on a secondment to the NSW Natural Resources Commission to assist with the management of the statewide NSW Forest Monitoring and Improvement Program.

In forestry policy Mr de Jongh has worked for both the Australian Government and the Australian Forest Products Association. He has developed strong stakeholder engagement skills, not only as a forester, but also in the six years spent as Local Area Manager for the NSW Local Land Services, working closely with a variety of stakeholders including Landcare groups, landholders and the agricultural industry.

Mr de Jongh is passionate about promoting and communicating sustainable forest management and advocating for the environmental, social and economic benefits associated with forestry.

“With the vital role members play in ensuring forests and their many values can benefit society for generations to come, Matt joins us at an exciting time for Forestry Australia.

“His combination of operational and policy knowledge stands to add a new dimension to an already diversely skilled board which is strongly representative of our membership.

“After a tremendous contribution in his first term, the re-appointment of Blair Freeman is another big win for the organisation.

“I look forward to working with them both, and the rest of the board to help tackle the opportunities and challenges ahead for our profession and sector,” Ms Martin said.

Mr de Jongh said that he was grateful for the opportunity to serve as a director with Forestry Australia, as he was passionate about forestry and a very proud advocate for the continued sustainable management of our forests.

“It’s an honour to be involved with a supportive Board and members that have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. It’s an exciting time to be involved with an organisation that is actively raising awareness of the benefits of sustainable forest management,” he said.

Reappointed director Blair Freeman is a professional forester with more than 25 years’ experience in providing advisory services on forest policy development, strategic planning and natural resource management across Australia and the Asia Pacific region. He is the Head of Strategy and Sustainability with Indufor, an international forest sector consulting firm with offices in Australia, New Zealand, Finland and North America.

Blair Freeman

“I am delighted to be appointed to a second term as Director of Forestry Australia. I am looking forward to continuing work with the Board and our national office on implementing our plan for further growth,” Mr Freeman said.

“The National Symposium in Albury in October highlighted again the exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for forestry in Australia. Key to this will be building on our partnerships and collaborations across a wide range of areas of knowledge and expertise.”

Ms Martin also thanked retiring director Dr Lachie McCaw for his service to the organisation, which included a term as Vice President.

“I’d like to thank Dr Lachie McCaw for his outstanding commitment and service to the organisation,” Ms Martin said. “In recent years, Lachie has been instrumental in supporting the Grower Committee, the Forest Fire Management Committee and the Registered Forestry Professional Review, as well as generously providing his wisdom and expertise to help Forestry Australia move forward.”

Dr McCaw said he left the board feeling buoyant about the future of forestry in Australia.

“Without exception, the interactions amongst the many people who have served the Board during this period have been professional, constructive and genuine in their intent to advance the cause of forestry and act in the best interest of members,” Dr McCaw said.

“My experience of the recent Albury symposium leaves me feeling altogether confident that Forestry Australia is well placed to continue the journey of leading, adapting and re-imagining the future of forestry in Australia”.