The Inaugural policy forum of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) was held in the Jim Stynes Room of the MCG yesterday, with 60 attendees representing all sectors of the industry, discussing a variety of key policy issues.
• Investment (industry growth, plantation expansion);
• Resource security (e.g. RFAs, water);
• Climate Change (including renewable energy);
• Trade and market access (e.g. certification, trade measures); and
• Timber market development (e.g. technical support, representation).
AFPA Transitional Chairperson, Linda Sewell, provided an interesting presentation on the proposed inner-workings and future strategic focus of the new organisation. Ms Sewell reminded participants that in just three months AFPA was well on the way to addressing many of the transitional issues it faced.
AFPA Transitional CEO, Allan Hansard, opened the day and set the scene for the audience. “We have an industry turnover of $23 billion and employment of 120,000. That’s enough people to fill this venue [the MCG] and then some lining up outside,” he said. “While we’re not as big as the mining industry – which has $300 billion of investment in the pipeline – we must remember that we provide employment and economic activity in the regional areas not getting the benefits of the mining boom,” he said.
Ms Sewell also outlined how the organisation was aiming to be the ‘pre-eminent’ voice for the forest products industry and was already being recognised as the ‘go to’ organisation by Governments other industries and community groups.
There was a policy session in which representatives from a number of member companies provided their perspectives on key policy issues and members had the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues to assist in the development of AFPA position on key issues..
AFPA was established through the merger of the Australian Plantations Products and Paper Industry Council (A3P) and the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI). The Association is based in Canberra and has strong links with State Associations in other capital cities. Membership enquiries and welcome by calling (02) 6285 3833. A transitional website has also been established: www.ausfpa.com.au