One of the top priorities for VAFI in 2015 is to know our members and the broader industry intimately, to allow us to best advocate on their behalf. With a new state government starting to find its feet, this is even more the case.

One of the ways we do this is by visiting our members and other industry stakeholders across the state. Having spent a day in the Yarra Ranges in late January, next week VAFI staff are touring Western Victoria; visiting Geelong, Colac, Hamilton and Portland.

With the transfer last year of all commercial timber harvesting in Victorian state forests west of the Hume Highway to VicForests, VAFI is keen to engage and re-engage with businesses in the west of the State.

But it’s not just native forestry that VAFI is interested in.

The Green Triangle region of south-eastern South Australia and Victoria’s south-west is home to almost 20% of the nation’s plantation estate, with almost 300,000 hectares of pine and blue gum plantations.

Forestry and processing is responsible for 12 per cent of the total jobs in the region, and about 23% of all employment in the region’s primary industries. Directly and indirectly, the industry employs almost 9,000 people across the region.

As an industry, we are all facing issues that affect each step of the supply chain, and it is important that we work together towards a sustainable future.

I believe that securing the future is one of the most important objectives for our industry and I am highly optimistic about our prospects.

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