An increased focus on engaging with stakeholders and sharing the benefits of forestry has supported the growth of the FPC as a dynamic business.
This year, the Western Australian Regional Forest Agreement (WA RFA) was extended for 20 years. The extension includes five-yearly reviews to provide ongoing confidence to the community through the monitoring of forest management practices. It will support stability for Western Australia’s $1.4 billion forest and forest products industry and the more than 6,000 people employed through forestry in Western Australia.
We launched our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, confirming our commitment to reconciliation and furthering relationships with Aboriginal peoples. Four enthusiastic trainees were appointed under our Aboriginal traineeship program in both field and office-based roles across the business, with the aim of nurturing a new generation of Aboriginal foresters and forestry industry professionals.
Our Community Support Program was expanded this year to award 20 community groups with grants which will help them improve their local communities and ensure that all West Australians can experience the benefits of forestry and healthy forests.
We invested $1.5 million in sandalwood and native forest regeneration, expanded our Operation Woylie sandalwood seeding program, and increased the area of regenerated karri forest.
We continued our commitment to expanding Western Australia’s softwood estate, with $4.3 million invested in land acquisition for planting in 2019-2020, and we continue to work with industry to encourage broader investment in the plantation industry additional to FPC funds.
Fire mitigation continued to be a focus through strengthening existing fire mitigation techniques and the exploration of new strategies to better manage fire risk during our operations. Salvage operations were able to recover around 74,000 tonnes of fire-affected softwood for local industry. It is crucial that we continue to learn from fire events and look at ways to increase the security of this renewable resource.
I want to thank our dedicated staff, particularly those involved in fire-fighting and fire-salvage efforts this year. It is encouraging to see so many of our staff taking on new challenges and roles while embracing an increased focus on engagement.
I would also like to acknowledge the Minister for Forestry, the Hon. Dave Kelly MLA, for his leadership and support.
Mr Stuart West | General Manager
11 September 2019