Goal 3: Ensure efficient, effective and safe delivery of business outcomes

Our State Government partners are Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

“We are self-sustaining and profitable and continue to invest in the long-term economic health of the timber industry in regional Western Australia.”

 

 

Working arrangements with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions finalised (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

We implemented working arrangements with the DBCA which have improved efficiencies and reduced duplication between the two agencies over the year. 

These arrangements allow us to meet our legislative requirements and effectively plan and harvest on land managed by the DBCA. They cover issues such as worksite management, identifying training requirements, improving information management and exchange, and working together to improve knowledge on pests, weeds and diseases.

Business improvements

A functional review of the FPC organisational structure was undertaken in 2017. 

A new structure that focuses on functional activities across all forest types is now operating in the FPC. This has provided efficiencies by integrating activities such as roading, harvesting and forest management across our operations. 

The review led to the creation of the New Business and Innovation Branch. The role of the branch is to drive whole-of-business innovation and business efficiencies to meet the current and future needs of Western Australia’s forestry industry.     

Working with industry, we undertook a detailed analysis of the softwood supply chain. The exercise identified several areas where the industry could reduce costs and improve its services, such as increased recovery of residue following pine harvesting which results in reduced establishment costs. The changes initiated as part of the review are critical to ensuring that the industry remains competitive domestically and internationally.

Similar supply chain projects are being planned with both the native forest and sandalwood industries.

Rapid changes in remote sensing technology and the development of tools for the analysis of big data are providing opportunities to create significant efficiencies. For example, where sandalwood inventory was previously based on a limited number of sample plots across a vast area, remote sensing technologies now enable sandalwood trees to be identified from aerial images using a combination of multi-spectral technology and machine learning. 

We have also invested in a collaborative project with the Forest and Wood Products Association that will develop techniques for undertaking forest planning activities using virtual reality and 
three-dimensional models.
 

New IT system delivered (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

Substantial progress has been made towards the replacement of legacy systems for contract management, invoicing and contractor payments. 

The new systems have been developed within the FPC with a focus on integration at all levels across the business to streamline data capture and reporting. The new systems will be commissioned over the next six months.

 

Implement recommendations from Treasury assessment of plantations for sale (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

This year, we continued to support initiatives to increase the area of new softwood plantations in Western Australia.

In the 2016-2017 Budget Speech, it was announced that the potential sale of the softwood plantation asset component of the FPC would not be progressed. Treasury’s review process highlighted the need for further plantation resource to support a sustainable softwood industry.

We commissioned Growing the Softwood Estate - Mechanisms required for farm forestry to contribute to an expansion of the plantation estate in Western Australia, a report which identified strong stakeholder support for farm forestry and its role in industry. 

Based on the report’s recommendations, Forestry Minister Dave Kelly launched the FPC Farm Forestry Assist grant program. This program was aimed at supporting the local softwood processing industry by providing farmers with a grant of $500 per hectare or free seedlings to encourage farmers to plant pine trees on their land. 

We received 15 applications and we expect 226 hectares to be planted over winter. The strong interest ensured all grant money was acquitted and the program is intended to be offered again next year.

Photo: Landowners who recieved a Farm Forestry Assist grant have already begun planting and we expect 226 hectares to be planted over the next few months.

 

Exit of uneconomic sharefarms (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

We are rationalising sharefarm plantations that were established in the 1990s and 2000s which did not meet anticipated outcomes.

This primarily relates to eucalypt plantings in the South West and drought-affected pine plantings to the north and east of Perth. More than 1,350 hectares of eucalypt plantations have been returned to landowners in instances where it was determined that there was not a commercial market. Agreements have also ceased on 487 hectares of softwood and hardwood because of fire and drought. 

As part of the ongoing rationalisation of sharefarms, we are looking to provide landowners with the option to take possession of trees, or to provide the option to clear trees through an early harvest, if markets are available.

Divesting uneconomical and unsustainable plantations will allow us to focus our resources on increasing the softwood estate in suitable areas in line with the Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia. 

 

New contracts for sandalwood effectively implemented (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils opened their distillation plant in Kalgoorlie in December.

The opening of a new distillation plant in Kalgoorlie was the final stage in the implementation of a contract awarded in 2016 for the supply of high-grade sandalwood to Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils (DSO). 

Deliveries to DSO have increased during the year as the company secures markets for the oil it produces at the plant.

In addition to existing sandalwood sales contracts, we offered Western Australian companies the opportunity to purchase sandalwood as part of a new competitive panel of buyers. 

Sandalwood is being offered in a competitive process, to support industry as part of the Native Sandalwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia. The first parcels of sandalwood were made available in May and sales were valued at more than $2.8 million. 

Photo: Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils opened their distillation plant in Kalgoorlie in December.

Staff snapshot

More than 86 per cent of our 177 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees are located in regional towns. 

The FPC employs 215 people across its work sites, with the numbers including permanent, part-time, seasonal and casual employees. 

Type of staff FTE Headcount
Permanent full-time employees (excludes Attached Officers) 121 121
Permanent part-time employees 13 20
Fixed-term full-time employees 28 28
Fixed-term part-time employees 3 4
Seconded in FPC 4 4
Attached Officer seconded out from FPC 0 0
Attached Officers 0 0
Casuals - 38
Working outside metro area - 153

Leave liability in 2017-2018 was reduced to be consistent with public sector guidelines. 

In April 2018, a new role was created to lead key cultural change initiatives and assist the FPC at a strategic level to develop a more innovative, flexible, proactive and productive work environment. 

The Culture and Organisational Change Manager has begun reviewing our Individual Development Plan, and has been developing a Culture Plan to be implemented in 2018-2019.

Aboriginal traineeships

Work began on the creation of an aboriginal traineeship program which will be implemented in 2018-2019. This new initiative has been designed to attract and appoint enthusiastic people who will receive the necessary training and development to apply for permanent roles within the FPC and other government or industry organisations.
 

Sustainable forest management performance

We undertook stakeholder consultation on the update of our Karri forest management plan.

Our forest management activities are regulated through a three-tiered compliance framework.

The three tiers include:

  1. Regulation through the Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 (FMP) and the DBCA’s environmental compliance monitoring. 
  2. Our internal Corporate Governance Framework and Integrated Forest Management System.
  3. External monitoring through independent audits of our systems and processes.

FPC’s Integrated Forest Management System

During the year we updated our Integrated Forest Management System (IFMS) following the structural changes across the business. Our IFMS is aligned with the new working arrangements and will allow us to continue our performance against sustainable forest management objectives.  

We reviewed our operational and strategic risks associated with our activities working in native forests, sandalwood areas and plantations, and ensured that all staff received up-to-date training in new Environmental Management System (EMS) requirements.

Our 2017 Karri forest management plan and Karri forest HCV assessment were reviewed to meet the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council’s® (FSC®) Controlled Wood Standard 
(FSC-STD-30-010; FSC-C120630) and the associated FSC Australia’s High Conservation Values (HCVs) evaluation framework. The FPC undertakes stakeholder consultation on the identification of HCVs within the defined forest management unit (FMU) and the precautionary measures in place to protect them.

We also commenced a work program to upgrade our EMS to the revised EMS Standard – ISO 14001 (2015) in preparation for a recertification audit in 2018-2019, and prepared our systems to seek Responsible Wood certification for our sandalwood business.

External independent audits

During the year, we continued to improve our environmental management systems. As a result, we maintained our certification to ISO 14001 (2004) for our EMS as well as certification to the Australian Standard (Responsible Wood) AS 4708 (2013) - The Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management. The Australian Standard is internationally recognised and endorsed by the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).  

Photo: We undertook stakeholder consultation on the update of our Karri forest management plan.

New KPIs in place (SCI 2017-2018 initiative)

We have reviewed our Key Performance Indicators to ensure they aligned with the State Government’s Goals and the FMP.

While most of the monitoring requirements described in the FMP are routinely carried out and reported to regulatory bodies, the reporting of many of these indicators has now been formalised and can be found on the KPIs page.
   
 

Occupational safety and health

To ensure that governance and management of safety continues to be considered at the highest level, the FPC board of commissioners established a new sub-committee focussed on People and Safety.

The sub-committee will be focussing on monitoring and improving the safety culture within the FPC as part of the wider forestry industry. All high-risk activities in the FPC are currently being reviewed to ensure appropriate controls, documentation and resourcing are in place.

In 2017-2018, following a serious safety incident involving a chainsaw, we undertook a focussed audit of the FPC nursery’s safety management processes. A key finding was the need to reinforce essential safety management and leadership skills for all supervisors. This training has commenced and will continue during 2018-19. 

Our Occupational Safety and Health Committee structure was also reviewed and improved to focus efforts on high risk issues. This included the introduction of initiatives such as random drug and alcohol testing and providing staff with more competency-based training to conduct internal incident investigations. A key initiative of the committee has also involved reviewing the working alone procedure.

Log truck safety

Log truck safety has been and will continue to be a priority area for the FPC. 

Our Chain of Responsibility Steering Committee continued to review and develop strategies to monitor and manage road transport safety. 

An audit of road transport mass management processes for the FPC and its contractors was conducted and the development of an online training and awareness module for staff and contractors was delivered to reduce the risk of log truck rollovers.

Our commitment to contractor safety was enhanced with quarterly contractor meetings to discuss and resolve safety issues and we introduced a revised compliance checking process to monitor contractor safety systems and operations.

During 2018-2019, we will introduce a specialised skills verification system, in partnership with the Forest Industries Federation of Western Australia, that will allow the FPC and our contractors to more closely manage and assess staff and employee competency and training for their individual roles.

Safety incidents

Indicator* Target 2016-2017 2017-2018
Number of fatalities** 0 0 0
Lost time injury / disease incident rate 0 0.59 0.56
Lost time injury severity rate*** 0 0 100
Lost time injury 0 1 1
Percentage of injured workers returned to work within (i) 13 weeks and (ii) 26 weeks *** i) 100% i) N/A i) 0%
ii) 100% ii) N/A ii) 100%
Percentage of managers who have completed OSH training 80% 97.5% 97%

* The statistics are reported in accordance with the Public Sector Commission's Circular 2012-05 Code of Practice OSH in the Western Australian Public Sector
** While there were no FPC employee fatalities for the 2017-2018 year, there was one fatality of an FPC contractor's employee
*** There was only one lost time injury during 2017-2018, but it was classified as severe