Compliance: Queensland plantation code launched

09-Sep-2015

QUEENSLAND timber plantation owners and operators can now access the Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland, a guide that outlines how to comply with all laws and with accepted principles for sound plantation management. Timber Queensland CEO Rod McInnes launched the code at the Institute of Foresters of Australia Queensland division AGM, held at Brisbane’s Broncos Leagues Club on August 14. Mr McInnes said the new code aimed to ensure commercial timber plantations were profitable while being environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. “The code complements all Acts, regulations, state government policies, local government planning schemes and local laws that relate to the development of new plantation areas,” Mr McInnes said. “It really provides everyone involved in running an existing or establishing a new commercial plantation in Queensland with a level playing field. “Every person from the landowner, the plantation owner and the plantation manager to the harvest manager and any employees and contractors employed to work in a plantation can access the code to understand the voluntary standards they should strive to meet.” Mr McInnes said that the code was ‘tenure blind’; it could be voluntarily applied by plantation operators over any land tenure in Queensland. 

McInnes acknowledged the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for its funding support through the Queensland Forest and Timber Industry Plan to develop the new code, and the work Stephen Walker of SFM Environmental Solutions had done in facilitating development of the code. Mr McInnes also acknowledged each of the industry organisations operating in Queensland that contributed to the code’s development: Alex Lindsay Forestry; Australian Forest Growers; Forest Industries Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast; Forest Management Services Queensland; HQPlantations; Institute of Foresters of Australia; Killin Management; PF Olsen; Private Forestry Service Queensland; Queensland Commodity Exports; SFM Environmental Solutions; Verterra Ecological Engineering; and Wood 4 The Trees As outgoing chair of the Queensland division of the IFA and moderator of the code launch, Stephen Walker also acknowledged the generous sponsorship of HQPlantations, SFM Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd and Specialty Timber Growers, which had jointly funded the hire of the venue for the launch and a limited print run of the code. Mr Walker presented multiple copies of the code to the sponsors, and copies to representatives of all the organisations that had generously contributed their time to the development of the code. Also speaking at the Code launch, Jim Burgess, a/manager forest Industries, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, described how the Plantation Operations Code of practice would operate in tandem with consistent ‘forestry for wood production’ planning assessment codes regulated by local authorities that address those aspects of new planation developments considered ‘different’ from other traditional cropping activities. The Timber Plantation Operations Code of Practice for Queensland is available to download from Timber Queensland’s website at http://www.timberqueensland.com.au/Growing/Plantation-operations-code-of-practice.aspx 

Guest speaker on the day was Simon Dorries, CEO of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd. Mr Dorries outlined some of the plans being developed by AFS Ltd to improve brand awareness and recognition to increase the value of the brand, leading to potential greater benefits for forest managers and chain of custody certificate holders. “We have great forest management practices, great processors and great products, but what we don’t currently have is increased market demand and recognition of certified products to help offset the significant investment required in certification,” he said. Mr Dorries said simple messages that needed to be communicated were: 

Sustainable timber products are available now. 
  • These products are already being used, but in many situations the benefits are not being taken advantage of. 
  • The products are competitively priced. 
  • While the use of certified timber products is seldom specified, opportunities exist for adopters to be seen as leaders in sustainability. 
“What we most need is for corporations to enforce their sustainability policies, for certification to be written into purchasing guidelines and specifications and, most importantly, for certified processors to start using the logos and brands”, he said.