An increasing demand for wood fibre and changes in technology are facilitating transformations across all forest sectors where the FPC operates.
Technology now exists which enables logs that could not previously be used for value-added products to be processed into veneers or other components of engineered wood products. These engineered wood products not only replace large dimension solid timbers in traditional uses but enable the use of timber in multi-storey construction.
The FPC has begun planning a series of tenders, which will be run over the next 12 months, designed to attract new timber processing ventures.
Our operations have an important role in managing the impact of climate change on forest health and water availability. New technologies for processing lower-grade logs will help to facilitate good forest management outcomes.
There will always be some trees, or parts of trees, removed from silvicultural operations that cannot be used in structural or decorative applications.
This lower-value wood fibre will continue to be supplied into traditional markets such as silicon or paper manufacture, and there is also a rapidly growing demand for the use of wood for the production of renewable bioenergy.
Wood from sustainably managed forest operations has the potential to be used as either a standalone energy source, or in combination with other fuels to provide baseload electricity.
It is essential to attract new investment to ensure that there is sufficient high-quality plantation softwood in the future to sustain the industry. While the government has made a leading commitment, it is important that this is supplemented by the timber industry, private investors and landowners.
We will continue to build on changes to the way in which sandalwood is sold to facilitate the development of a more diverse and resilient domestic processing sector.
In addition to long term contracts for processing and sale, a panel of local sandalwood buyers has been established and the FPC will make regular offers of wood to the panel through a competitive process. Sales through the panel will favour buyers that undertake value-adding in Western Australia and encourage Aboriginal employment.
Following the replacement of legacy business systems over the next six months, we will develop and implement an electronic delivery note (EDN) system.
The EDN system will replace the current paper-based system and enable the FPC, contractors and customers to have real-time access to data on log deliveries. This will enable a change in the management of scheduling and logistics across the supply chain.
Renewed engagement with the broader community is important for the forestry sector to understand community expectations and to communicate the role that it can play in achieving them.
The clear articulation of long-term direction of the management of forests and plantations and the values that they can provide will be the foundation for building this dialogue and providing confidence in the forestry sector.