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A big step forward for sustainable forest management in Australia

Australia's Federal Government this week announced funding of $500,000 to assist in the development of an Australian forest management certification standard for Forest Stewardship Council certification. The development of an Australian standard is a requirement of FSC International, and will provide a consistent basis for assessment of sustainable management of Australian forests under FSC's framework.

Forest management certification is an important component of the marketing chain for most Australian forest growers, and many end users demand that the certification is undertaken to FSC requirements. Without this important funding, progress of standard development would have been significantly hindered.

Outgoing FSC Australia Chair, and CEO of Timber Communities Australia – Jim Adams, and FSC Australia CEO - Natalie Reynolds have been instrumental in pushing for this funding which will enable the employment of key staff to drive the standard development process.

PF Olsen Australia's David Bennett presents Keith Lamb of New Forests Asset Management with a copy of our recently awarded FSC Certificate

Local Government and the forestry sector working together

I recently attended the inaugural National Timber Councils Association conference in Melbourne, where I was also pleased to have the opportunity to present on the implications of the move to institutional forest ownership for local government authorities.

In the highly political environment that forestry in Australia operates, it is easy to forget that the relationship between timber companies and councils, while not as high profile, is critical to the well-being of many rural and regional communities.

It was encouraging to see the level of informed, if sometimes challenging, discussion about issues of mutual interest, including management of rural roads, regional investment and effective land-use decision making.

While there will always be contentious issues to manage, there are many examples where timber and local government interests can work together to generate better rural and regional outcomes in terms of advocacy to higher levels of government, as well as generating more sustainable regional economic and rural community viability.