Friday Offcuts – 11 December 2020

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In Australia, if it doesn’t rain, it pours. Poor analogy really as the country’s climate continues to get warmer with more frequent droughts being forecast. Last week though we reported on the increasingly dire situation that was unfolding in Australia with their log exports. China put a stop on exports out of Queensland and Victoria on 11 November and then on Thursday last week, extended the ban to log exports out of South Australia and Tasmania. Wood harvesting and log transport operations as a consequence are now lying idle as the spat on log exports across four States now is being worked on by officials.

More this week to add to an unsettling environment right now. The timber workers union recently met up with forestry contractors to better understand the impact that forest protests and some of the increasingly bizarre workplace invasions are having on their operations and their crews. They’ve also been meeting with timber workers in Victoria to rally against the State Government's proposed ban on native logging. As we’ve reported, the current plan is to phase out all logging of native forests in ten years time.

And across the strait, in Tasmania, environmentalists have moved their efforts from road blocks, blockades and tree sitting protests into the court room. They’re arguing that the Tasmanian agreement under the Regional Forests Agreements (RFA) Act is invalid, that the current agreement is not enforceable and that rare and endangered species are not being protected. The stakes here are high. If successful, it could bring about the end of native logging in every native forest in Tasmania and potentially, across other States in Australia. Former federal Greens leader Bob Brown who’s leading the action is unequivocal. Their first target with this case is the Federal Government and the RFA’s. Like those whose livelihoods are at real risk in Victoria, for those in Tasmania it’s just another kick in the guts in what’s been a very long and often, hostile battle.

Ok, let’s end with some more uplifting news. Timberlink, after announcing plans at the beginning of this year to build a state-of-the-art Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) & Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) manufacturing facility in Australia, have now selected their site. It’s going to be located alongside their recently expanded and upgraded sawmill at Tarpeena in South Australia. It will be Australia’s second major softwood CLT plant and it will be the first combined CLT & GLT manufacturing operation. It’s also expected to generate interest from the timber industry further afield with an upgraded sawmill and new GLT and CLT plant all located on the one site. The new manufacturing facility is expected to be opened in 2023.

And to put a smile on your face, you can check out what’s probably the largest smiley face (80m in diameter) in the world planted by a North American forest products company, Hampton Lumber. It’s on a hillside in Oregon and it’s made up of planted Douglas fir and larch. Also, to finish on, check out the small video clip at the back end of the newsletter. Love this one. And that’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Timberlink selects site for new CLT &GLT plant

Timberlink’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Tyson, is pleased to advise that after a significant review of possible locations, the Timberlink Tarpeena sawmill site has been selected to build Australia’s first softwood, state-of-the-art CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) and GLT (Glue Laminated Timber) manufacturing facility. Initially creating 27 full-time permanent jobs, then rising to 50 jobs once the plant reaches its capacity.

The plant is scheduled to open in 2023 and will be co-located with its recently expanded and upgraded softwood sawmill at Tarpeena. This facility will create interest from the timber industry from around the world as it will be unique to have a combine state of the art sawmill and GLT, CLT plant on one site. This facility will showcase the best of leading technology that creates the ultimate renewable, timber.

The mill currently employees over 200 people and contributes AU$150m to the local economy. A significant number of additional jobs will be also be created during the construction phase. The finalised location of the AU$59m project at Tarpeena, South Australia, is supported by the commitment of the South Australian State Government AU$2m grant from the Regional Growth Fund.

“These are quality, long-term manufacturing jobs that will be created in the region. This will showcase the best of the timber industry and will create jobs and industry value for decades.” Said Minister David Basham.

Timberlink gratefully acknowledges the District Council of Grant for their strong support and enthusiasm for the new facility to be located in Tarpeena. Mayor Richard Sage and Council has shown great support for the project and has worked with Timberlink management to achieve this outcome for Tarpeena.

“With the facility being constructed at Tarpeena there are benefits with be located on the same site as our saw mill and the region and we’re delighted to be able secure this commitment from the South Australian Government and the District Council of Grant” said Timberlink CEO Ian Tyson.

Source: Timberlink

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2021 Technology Events – mark your diaries

Again, after an incredibly disruptive year, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has in conjunction with a wide cross section of industry on both sides of the Tasman, developed an Events Planner for next year. With a series of technology webinars run during lockdown this year and then record numbers that turned up at FIEA technology events that were run in Rotorua in October and November, we’re really excited with what 2021 holds.

The Events Planner is going to enable; forestry and wood products companies to pencil the dates into your own calendar for next year and industry associations, research organisations and those involved in setting up your own programmes for 2021 to take note of the dates (and ideally look to dovetail in to the tech events timing and location to add value to the industry and those likely to attend).

For product and service suppliers, we hope this forward planning will also enable you to schedule your involvement and to budget early on in the year to the relevant tech event and for overseas suppliers, it will enable you to lock in a time to plan visits to your key customers or distributors in Australia and New Zealand (if our borders reopen) and to link in to the relevant technology events in this part of the world next year.

FIEA and Innovatek led technology events for forestry and wood products companies being planned for 2021 include;

1. MobileTECH AG 2021
23-24 March 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand
www. + live remote.

2. Forest Industry Safety & Technology Conference
13 April 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand
Note: This is being run in conjunction with the two-day log transport and wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021.

3. HarvestTECH 2021
13-14 April 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand + live remote.

4. Carbon Forestry 21
15-16 June 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand
www. + live remote.

5. WoodTECH 2020
3-4 August 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand
3-4 August 2021, Melbourne, Australia
Note: For the first time, this sawmilling event will be run at the same time in both New Zealand and Australia. + live remote.

6. WoodWorks
21-22 September 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand

7. ForestTECH 2021
16-17 November 2021, Melbourne, Australia
18-19 November 2021, Rotorua, New Zealand

Mark the dates into your 2021 calendars. At this early stage, if interested in either presenting or exhibiting, let us know early on and if appropriate, we can look to build you into the planned programmes. Of course, dates and venues selected will be dependent on just how the COVID-19 issue is resolved next year.

Also attached for your information is a PDF of 2021 Technology Events which provides you with further information on the schedule of tech events planned for next year.

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Environmentalists hoping for court victory

Australian environmentalists are calling it "The Great Forest Case", and they say a win would be a victory to rival the successful campaign that stopped the damming of Tasmania's wild Franklin River.

Key points:

- The Bob Brown Foundation is arguing in court that the Tasmanian agreement under the Regional Forests Agreements Act is invalid
- It claims the agreement is not enforceable, and that rare and endangered species are not protected
- The forestry industry claims the continuing attacks are hurting people working within agreements that are protecting threatened species

But there will be no blockades nor mass protests, this fight will be fought purely in court because the area it covers is far too great to swarm with activists. Because this time it is not a singular river at stake, it is every native forest in Tasmania. If the environmentalists succeed it could mean the end of native forest logging in the state and potentially the country. More >>.

Source: ABC

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AKD Softwoods selects Trimble solutions

AKD Softwoods, an integrated forestry and timber process company based in Colac, Victoria in Australia has selected Trimble Forestry’s Log Inventory & Management System (LIMS) to manage its extensive forestry operations across Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

AKD Softwoods will also use Trimble’s Connected Forest Xchange (CFX) to allow log load and scale information to be viewed on mobile phones, tablets, or via a web browser, providing visibility into key metrics and improved timber security throughout AKD’s integrated businesses and supply chain partners.

LIMS and CFX are part of Trimble Forestry’s Connected Forest Business portfolio. Implementing both solutions will allow AKD to have end-to-end visibility into its supply chain. LIMS will manage the settlement process for accounts payable and receivable transactions. Together the solutions will provide faster settlements, greater timber security, and a more efficient operation.

LIMS provides management control over all phases of timberland, woodland, yard, and mill operations. It combines the features of a log or timber accounting system with features for silviculture, harvesting, contractor payables, wood or fibre procurement, wood trading or sales, consumption, and comprehensive reporting and planning. CFX aggregates fibre supply data in easy-to-view and share dashboards, enabling better supply chain coordination and efficiency.

Source: Trimble

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Learning reviews to improve worker safety

Learning from what goes wrong at work, and what goes right, is important because it helps us identify ways to improve and build stronger businesses. Traditional incident investigations are one way to do this. But these investigations tend to be quite limited in their scope. That means they don’t necessarily reveal all the under-lying factors that contributed to an incident, or all the lessons that can be learnt to prevent similar events in future.

One alternative approach is a Learning Review, which focuses on learning and improvement rather than just finding out what went wrong and who was at fault. Learning Reviews explore how the work is actually being done, and how it could be done differently. Workers are heavily involved in the process - including offering their ideas on ways to work more safely.

Learning Reviews recognise two important things – that we can’t escape human error (even the most competent operator makes mistakes) and that errors are a product of the way the work is done, not just workers making mistakes. They help identify improvements that can protect workers and the business from inevitable human errors.

Safetree has several resources to help forestry businesses learn about, and use, the Learning Review approach. These include a new video case study on how PanPac Forest Products used a Learning Review to improve safety and worker engagement at its Napier lumber division.

The Learning Review approach was developed for the forestry industry by Scion, with the support of WorkSafe and Safetree. Scion is working with a core group of forestry people to further develop their skills to undertake the reviews. If you are interested in getting involved or trying out the Learning Review approach contact: or

Learning from incidents – PanPac Forest Products’ story

In this video, PanPac Forest Products Lumber Division staff talk about the outcomes of a Learning Review that followed a serious incident involving a forklift. The company implemented safety improvements suggested by the workers themselves. So, in addition to improving safety around forklifts, there has been better worker buy-in to the new ways of working, and an uplift in engagement from workers who feel they now have a stronger voice in health and safety decision-making.

More >>.

Source: Safetree

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Accelerating investment into NZ Biofuels

Te Uru Rākau is moving ahead with the next stage of research into creating a New Zealand biofuels industry, following a successful first stage, Director Sector Investments Jason Wilson announced.

“The Wood Fibre Futures project earlier this year identified viable wood-based alternatives to high carbon emitting products such as transport fuel, concrete, steel and coal. Having identified the options, we are now looking to accelerate to stage two of the project, which will be to build business cases for attracting international investors to New Zealand.”

Mr Wilson says there is considerable interest in biofuels and biomass energy from organisations such as Air New Zealand and Fonterra. “We are now putting out a tender, seeking an organisation with extensive international contacts and experience that can develop compelling business cases for investing in the biofuels and solid fuels sector in New Zealand.”

These business cases are expected to be completed by mid-2021 and will include focus on wood-based products that will provide a large source of residues that can be used to produce three priority products identified in stage one:

• biocrude oil
• liquid biofuels (such as sustainable aviation fuel)
• solid fuels such as wood pellets

“We have a huge amount of pine in New Zealand that can be used to create these fuels, but we need to attract investment and prove that there is both the demand, and a viable supply, and that is what we are aiming to do by developing these business cases,” says Mr Wilson.

“The growing demand for alternatives to fossil fuels has the potential to transform the forestry sector into a provider of biofuels, bioenergy and a range of renewable bioproducts alongside more traditional wood products. The Government is committed to moving New Zealand to a low carbon future and Forestry has a major role to play in that future.”

Mr Wilson says biofuels will also have the added benefit of supporting regional development with biofuel manufacturing centres being in the same areas where forestry is prevalent. “We are already seeing sizeable investment in wood pellets to replace coal use in New Zealand and this will only increase as the domestic carbon price rises”.

“In North America and Europe, government policies targeting transport emissions are beginning to catalyse investment in biofuels, which also have the ability to benefit New Zealand economically, environmentally and create employment in our regions.”

Te Uru Rākau is leading this work as part of the Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan, which is one of six transformation projects given priority by the Government. The other five are Construction (through the Construction Sector Accord); Agritech; Advanced Manufacturing, Food and Beverage and Digital Technologies.

Source: Te Uru Rākau

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Calls for immediate action on forest protests

The timber workers union, CFMEU Manufacturing and the Australian Forest Contractors Association have met with forest contractors to hear about the financial pain, physical danger and mental strain of ongoing forest protests and dangerous workplace invasions.

“Protests shouldn’t be conducted in a way which piles even more pressure on contractors and crews already conducting an activity with plenty of occupational health and safety hazards” said Mr Michael O’Connor, National Secretary CFMEU, Manufacturing.

Read the CFMEU statement here.

Source: The News Mill, VAFI

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Forest company considers exiting from Marlborough

A NZ forestry company barred from harvesting is considering leaving Marlborough after ending a court battle. Zindia Limited was stopped from processing its block in the Queen Charlotte Sound after the Marlborough District Council issued a cease and desist notice, saying it breached its resource consents.

The Environment Court overturned the council's orders, finding harvesting was allowed, but the notice was restored after the High Court ruled the Environment Court had “erred in its interpretation”. The company took its case to the Court of Appeal, which agreed in June to hear it, but the company later withdrew its application.

Zindia Limited’s managing director Jacob Mannothra said it could be time for the company to “bid goodbye” to Marlborough. “We’ll probably look at going overseas, because it's too hard here. No-one sticks together ... There's just no support,” Mannothra said.

“The [Court of Appeal] application was costing us thousands in legal fees ... It's better to cut our losses. It's a pity, but that's how it is.” Mannothra said the company’s footprint was “quite large”, employing about 250 people each time it shipped logs from Marlborough.

Council advocacy and practice integration manager Barbara Mead said by discontinuing the application, Zindia had accepted the High Court's decision, which concluded it needed a harvesting consent.

“It has a wider implication for us because [the determination] ... means permitted activities cannot be swept up into a resource consent and gain the protection of being a consented activity.”

More >>

Source: stuff

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Workforce Council work underway

The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council has been established in New Zealand to oversee the actions specific to developing workforce capability and capacity for forestry and wood processing through implementing actions on the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan. It will take the lead in working to address the sector's workforce development challenges. The Council is made up of representatives nominated by their industry body to represent the wide range of skills required in a thriving forestry sector.

The inaugural meeting of the Workforce Council was the culmination of a huge amount of collaboration between Te Uru Rākau, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and the forestry and wood processing sector. Work is already underway with vigorous discussion over direction, graduates passionate about their career in forestry, veterans keen to mould reformed vocational education into a fit-for-purpose training system that creates engaged and knowledgeable professionals, and ministry research specialists assessing workforce demand and developing better methods of monitoring trends.

During 2019, representatives from across the forestry sector worked with MPI to develop an action plan to support a skilled, safe, and diverse workforce. The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan 2020–2024 aims to support the development of a skilled workforce.

Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan.

Council input on the Reform of Vocational Education

The Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council keeps a watching brief and provides input on behalf of the forestry and wood processing sector into the following three developing reforms in vocational training:

- The planned Primary Industries Workforce Development Council. This new body, one of six nationally, will develop training resources and lead vocational education and the development of the workforce in the primary industries.

- The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology: Te Pūkenga (NZIST) includes all polytechnic structures around New Zealand and will be tasked with organising and delivering training nationally across all industries.

- The Primary Industry Centre of Vocational Excellence is a specific body currently being set up to use a project-based approach to create innovative new learning systems within the primary industries.

Progress and updates will be supplied in future issues. If you have any questions please make contact with the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council Chair,

Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Council

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Advertising options over the summer break

For those planning on advertising in this newsletter over the next few weeks, best get on to it. Our last issue for Friday Offcuts for 2020 is next week, on Friday 18 December. We plan on resuming service again on Friday 22 January 2021.

Any questions regarding the placement of adverts next week or immediately after the summer break, please make contact with

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Södra introduces its VR technology 360 experience

Södra is a forestry cooperative based in Växjö, Sweden. More than 52,000 forest owners in southern Sweden are members of the economic association which owns just over half of all privately owned forest in the area. Södra has just introduced the Södra 360 Experience, which takes advantage of virtual reality (VR) technology to increase knowledge about the role of the forest in society and in the future, while also demonstrating the values and breadth of its business.

“There is a need and opportunity to increase knowledge regarding the forest and the positive climate effects it gives as well as how we manage it sustainably,” Maria Baldin, SVP Communications and Sustainability at Södra said.

The VR provides close encounters with forest owners and experts, and users of forest products as they go about their lives, surrounded by renewable wood-based materials. “Our customers will benefit from this innovative new way to explore Södra’s world, from the sights and sounds of our members’ forests to its use in everyday life.

“Meanwhile, our customers’ customers, in other words consumers of forest products, can take a journey down the value chain, learn about sustainable forestry with its multiple beneficial impacts on their daily lives, and feel positive about their purchase decisions involving wood.”

Visitors to the virtual reality (VR) Södra 360 Experience can move from the forest into an interactive modern living space and a townscape, where the sustainable uses of wood –from paper products to textiles, energy and construction materials – are featured in detail. The Södra 360 Experience can be accessed on screen or with VR headset.

Visit the 360 experience at:

Source: Sodra

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The largest smiley face in the world?

Is it really the largest smiley in the World? We don´t know, but in the coastal part of Oregon, USA, Hampton Lumber has planted this smiley that measures 80 metres in diameter.

As the smiley is supposed to be yellow, larch was used as the base and for the eyes and mouth, douglas fir was planted. As the larch turns yellow in the autumn, that is the best time to see the giant smiley.

According to Hampton Lumber, it took a week to plant the smiley in 2011. They used a rope to measure the circle and the eyes and mouth were triangulated from that point.

Read more about the Oregon forest smiley here.

Photo: Reddit


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Campaign to fight 2030 logging ban renewed

Forestry workers in Victoria are rallying to fight the State Government's proposed ban on native logging.

From 2024, VicForests will start winding back allocations until a complete ban on logging in native forests is imposed in 2030. A union-led campaign against the ban was stalled due to COVID-19. Last week, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) held planning meetings with forest industry workers in the timber towns of Healesville, Heyfield and Orbost, east of Melbourne.

"We spoke to more than 100 workers at the [state-owned] Heyfield timber mill last night as well as representatives from the local council, contractors, sawmill workers and some community representatives and it's about trying to defend the timber industry in Victoria from the government decisions," CFMEU forestry division national secretary Michael O'Connor said.

Mr O'Connor said the State Government's logging ban was ideological, cruel and irresponsible and would put thousands of regional Victorians out of work.

More >>

Source: ABC Gippsland

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Buy and Sell

.... and one to end the week on ... are we talking about the same thing?

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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