Friday Offcuts – 19 June 2020

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Last week we covered the welcome announcement of the AU$688 million Homebuilder Programme. The aim of the new package was to help to breath some much-needed life into the ailing Australian construction and building industries. It was also a much-needed shot in the arm for those who are supplying products like timber framing onto building sites across the country.

To assist with the grants being made available for renovations and new home builds, an Aussie Timber campaign, “Buy Aussie Timber First” has also just been launched. The key theme for this campaign is to try and encourage Australian consumers to support local timber businesses, the message here being that thousands of Aussie jobs and communities are dependent on them. You can check out the campaign details, and just how it is that you can help, below.

We try to bring you stories each week on tech advancements, either being employed directly by forestry or wood products companies – or having the potential to be adopted – or tech stories that are just plain interesting. Last week we covered the first large scale operational use of robotics in wood processing operations in New Zealand and Australia. Both are featured for the first time in next month’s WoodTECH 2020 on-line webinar series being run for dry- mill and wood manufacturing operations across the region.

This week we’ve included another couple of stories to get you thinking. The first features robotics that are being used on road construction in China to build some of their highways. There are a couple of phrases here that should make you sit up and think. In a country, that in the past had comparatively low wage rates, we’re now hearing “unmanned machines” and “operated remotely”. And much closer to home, we’ve got a remotely monitored (all the way from the US) “robot-like dog”. It’s called Spot and it has been put through its paces working sheep on an isolated farm in New Zealand. Stop press: If you're impressed and would like to pick one up, Spot went on sale for the first time this week and the unit can now be purchased for the hefty sum of US$75k.

And finally, a small win for New Zealand’s forestry industry this week. For the last few weeks, we've been battling our own Minister on a bill aiming to register log traders and forestry advisers. The legislation is now heading back to Parliament with recommendations limiting the potential for any new industry regulator to interfere in commercial agreements between growers and log buyers. Full details, links and commentary on this rushed and contentious piece of legislation are contained in this week’s issue. Enjoy.

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MPs move to prevent forestry price controls

The New Zealand forestry sector has had a small victory over its minister with Parliament’s environment committee limiting the potential for a new industry regulator to interfere in commercial agreements between growers and log buyers.

New legislation intended to establish a register of log traders and forestry advisers is heading back to Parliament after being rushed through a truncated select committee process under Budget urgency.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones claimed the measures were required to improve the quality of advice to small woodlot owners and improve the ability of local processors to compete against export log buyers.

One of the most contentious aspects of the Forests (Regulation of Log traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill was a clause that would allow a new Forestry Authority to set practice standards on everything from land preparation to harvest planning, emissions trading and even sales and purchase agreements for domestic or exports sales.

Many of the hundreds of submitters on the bill had been concerned the government may use those powers to set a volume quota, or a cap on log prices, for domestic processing - potentially breaching World Trade Organisation rules.

Commercial arrangements protected

In its report back to Parliament, the committee has recommended an amendment spelling out that any such rules must not impose conditions or requirements that are “properly a matter for commercial agreement between parties.

That and other amendments make it “clear that price controls would not be able to be imposed by rules,” the committee said in its majority report. “In light of this, the committee is confident that this bill is compliant with New Zealand’s international obligations.”

Forestry and wood processing comprise the country’s third-largest export earner. But despite years of talk from successive governments, domestic processing capacity has not kept pace with the growing harvest profile. Older, smaller mills have also closed as Chinese demand has pushed up log prices and ‘big box’ hardware chains have come to dominate domestic timber purchasing.

The committee heard that New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t subsidise domestic sawmilling or allocate log volume to it. Greater volumes of European logs and wood products are also making their way into NZ’s traditional markets in Australia, Asia and the west coast of the US.

While highly critical of the proposed legislation, Forest Owners Association president Phil Taylor said the bill had at least encouraged debate about the future of the NZ industry and the importance of local processing in that. But he said that discussion had to be broader than just an argument about the costs of one input – logs.


For processing to develop there had to be greater demand, and the government’s stalled “wood-first” policy for public construction could be a big part of that, he said.

There also needed to be greater examination of the type of products that could be produced here and how to capture the most value from them, right across the supply chain, Taylor said prior to release of the committee’s report. Many of the committee’s recommendations fix obvious flaws in the bill – such as spelling out that trucking firms and port companies are not captured by the draft legislation’s loose definition of log trading.

The committee also recommended an exemption from registration for individuals trading less than 2,000 cubic metres of logs a year. More material requirements were an explicit obligation on the Forestry Authority to ensure that its decision-making on registration, disputes and complaints complied with natural justice.

The new body would also not be allowed to make regulations unless the minister was satisfied they were necessary to meet the legislation’s objectives and that there had been sufficient consultation with affected parties, including iwi, industry bodies and trade unions.

Source: BusinessDesk

For further commentary on the decision from the NZ Forestry Collective, click here

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Buy Aussie Timber First Campaign launched

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has just launched a new campaign called ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’ which will communicate and promote the many benefits of using renewable, locally-made, timber framing products to build new Aussie homes.

AFPA Chief Executive Ross Hampton said, “CoVid-19 has caused a significant forecast drop in new homes and associated renewable timber framing product demand. This puts immense pressure on Australian timber product manufacturing jobs and people’s livelihoods. Those of us involved in our renewable timber industries have understood for a long time how incredible our homegrown timber is, and the positive environmental and socio-economic impacts it has. It’s great to see this new campaign which highlights the benefits of buying Aussie timber framing, reaching out across our supply chain partners to fabricators, builders and consumers.”

The ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’ messaging is linked to the successful ‘Timber Framing – The Ultimate Renewable™’ campaign but focuses on why buying Aussie timber framing at this crucial time is so important to support manufacturing jobs and the supply-chain’s

The centrepiece of the campaign is a ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’ website with testimonials from timber workers, and includes the opportunity to upload a photo and share your support. There are also links to the many reasons why you should choose renewable Aussie timber framing which include supporting local manufacturing jobs and communities; being durable and termite treated; renewable and responsibly sourced; and stores carbon, just to name a few.

"Aussie timber is a proven and popular renewable framing material that provides comfort and security for hundreds of thousands of Australian homes. When Aussie timber framing is manufactured today it’s replanted for tomorrow, supporting a whole supply chain of jobs and communities. That’s why it’s the ultimate framing material,” Mr Hampton concluded.

More information on ‘Buy Aussie Timber First’ can be found at

The Aussie timber industry is united and are behind the campaign. Read the joint statement from the Aussie timber mills about their commitment to keeping the industry vibrant.

Source: AFPA

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Reports released on Forests Amendment Bill & ETS

Please find links for the select committee report on the Forests Amendment Bill and for further information on ETS changes that were released this week.

1. Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill. A copy of the committee’s report on the bill is now available on the Parliament website.

The departmental advice has also been published on the website

2. Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. See this MPI web link for a breakdown of key forestry changes. See also this MfE link for a breakdown of broader changes and a helpful webinar.

Source: Te Uru Rākau-Forestry New Zealand

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Fine tuning timber planing & machining operations

An exciting new format for dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations has been set up by local timber producers. This has been to ensure that the two-yearly WoodTECH series, originally scheduled to be run in New Zealand and Australia in August, can be run this year. A series of short 60-90-minute interactive webinars have been set up and will be run between 13-24 July 2020. Information and details on the series of WoodTECH 2020 webinars can be seen on the event website.

As well as highlighting a raft of disruptive technologies being developed and used to boost the operational performance of manufacturing operations, a “hands-on” practical troubleshooting session has been set up for specifically for timber machining and planing operators. It’s also been extended to 90 minutes rather than the 60 minutes to optimise interaction between the presenter and the mill staff participating.

Maximising reliability, and maintenance in a planing operation plays a key role when it comes to reliability goals. To achieve these objectives, it’s essential to change the attitude that maintenance is reactive and functional. Instead, maintenance should be viewed as a proactive process that is fully integrated into a mill’s general activities.

This webinar will cover how reliability-based maintenance makes it possible to implement a selective maintenance plan based on the equipment’s criticality and its failures. The ultimate goals for the operation are to:

• Improve the availability of selected equipment for their impact on the production flow (planer, loader and sorter)
• Improve performance through a global approach of permanent progress, integrating quality controls, eliminating the factors responsible for micro-stops and the responsibility of each operator
• Control production costs by reducing downtime and optimizing the preventive maintenance plan
Finally, implementing this strategy helps grow overall equipment effectiveness and the maintenance culture thanks to an effective, functional approach and increased involvement by companies’ personnel.

Other key topics being covered in this session will be:

• Diagnosing feeding problems on planers
• Planer alignment
• Pros and cons of gap feeding
• Electric drives vs. hydraulic

The 90-minute webinar aimed at local wood products and manufacturing companies is planned for Wednesday 22 July. It’s being run by an international industry wood manufacturing installation, training and troubleshooting specialist, Joey Godwin, Mechanical Service Technician & Machinery Support, USNR, USA.

If keen on signing up key manufacturing and production staff to sit in on this 90-minute webinar, you can register on line here.

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Strong support for on-line safety series

Instead of cancelling or postponing the forest safety event this year originally scheduled to run in New Zealand and Australia in May, the series run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) went virtual. During this week, 12 key speakers from the planned conference presented as part of a shorter interactive webinar series.

The new format was a real winner with hundreds of safety leaders in forest management and wood transport along with their contractors participating. In addition to the original audience planned for New Zealand and Australia, the new format enabled a truly international audience this time to participate.

Many of the key messages from the speakers this week was on the importance of communication and culture in the daily safety tasks that are so critical to success in our workdays. Safety tools, technologies and practices that being employed successfully be leading companies was also a key component of this week’s series. For those who had registered and were involved in the Forest Safety event this week, links to recordings from the series will be sent out shortly.

This latest series, in addition to all of the delegates that signed in, had a massive show of support from forestry companies and technology and equipment providers from across the region. In some pretty unusual circumstances, FIEA would like to acknowledge the massive support we’ve received from the industry to ensure that we were able to make this happen. For next year, the plan at this stage is to integrate a forest safety event into a major wood harvesting and transport series. This time, the expectation is that you’ll be meeting in person rather than signing into a virtual on-line series. Planning is already for either late March or early May 2021. Further details will follow.

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Tairawhiti forestry projects receive $1.5m funding

In New Zealand, One Billion Trees funding of more than NZ$1.5 million for six projects will bring employment and help kick-start the Tairawhiti economy following the Covid-19 lockdown, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

One Billion Trees grants of more than NZ$89,300 have been provided to Abushman Contracts Ltd, a Maori-owned forestry silviculture business which has developed the Paiaka Forestry Introductory Programme. Through this, 10 forestry workers whose jobs have been affected by Covid-19 will have the chance to gain NZQA credits and access wrap-around whanau-led wellbeing support.

“In addition, the workers will have job security pruning trees over the next three to six months on plantations administered by Crown Forestry and Ngati Porou Forests Ltd after both agreed to bring pruning work forward,” Mr Jones said.

In another project, up to 20 Tairawhiti forestry workers will have the chance to gain NZQA credits through Eastland Wood Council's Training the Next Forestry Generation project, which is receiving One Billion Trees funding of up to NZ$56,488.

“Education opportunities like this not only keep people in the forestry sector but also ensure the workforce is upskilled and well-placed to help put New Zealand forestry and wood processing at the cutting edge as we move beyond Covid-19.

More >>

Source: gisborneherald

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Australian forest resource inventory data sought

An Australian national study is underway to identify the wood resource characteristics of private forest estates (private native forests and farm forests) and Indigenous managed forests suitable for commercial uses. Led by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the study supports the National Forest Industries Plan – 2019-20 and 2020-21, Growing a Better Australia – A Billion Trees for Jobs and Growth. It will enable strategic coordination to support regional economic opportunities for private forest owners and Indigenous communities through the sustainable use of this underutilised forest resource.

ABARES is seeking the cooperation of all relevant stakeholders including forest industry associations, farm forestry organisations and cooperatives, Indigenous community bodies, and individual landholders, to assist with the identification of any available resource information that describes any of the three estates – private native forests, farm forests and Indigenous managed forests. Together, this information will inform the development of policies and industry initiatives to support landholders and regional communities, including Indigenous communities, become a vibrant and sustainable part of the Australian forestry industry and processing sectors. Commercial plantation information is not being sought as these data are already collected through the National Plantation Inventory.

It is acknowledged that the recent summer bushfires of 2019-20 affected large areas of forests in many parts of Australia, with the impact continuing to be felt by regional communities. An outcome of the ABARES private forest study is to support the development of economic opportunities in regional Australia.

The information sought for the study includes current and historical datasets and maps, reports and studies from state government databases, private industry, forest owners and managers, associations and forestry experts, and any other existing information relevant to private native forests, farm forestry and Indigenous forests. A number of forestry consultants are working with ABARES to ensure the study is as extensive as possible.

The ABARES contacts for this study are Claire Howell and Mihai Daian. They are keen to hear from anyone who has, or knows of, any resource information for areas of private native forests, farm forestry or Indigenous forests, or is interested more generally in the project. Please contact Mihai via email on or by telephone on (+61) 431 660 887.

Source: ABARES

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China builds highway with unmanned machines

We like to bring you stories on tech advancements. Last week we covered the first large scale operational use of robotics in wood processing operations in New Zealand and Australia (which are being featured in next month’s WoodTECH 2020 on-line webinar series that we have set up for dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations.

This week we cover in another story, robotic sheep herders. Herés another one out of the box. Contractors in China are using a fleet of unmanned road pavers and rollers to build the Panzhihua-Dali Highway between Sichuan and Dali provinces. The machines are using GPS positioning systems, microwave communications, millimetre wave radar and other sensing equipment to find their way along.

Vehicles are coordinated remotely from a monitoring data centre, reports state news agency, Xinhua. Bridges and tunnels account for around 81% of the highway, which has high specifications for smoothness of pavement. The technology was developed by machinery manufacturer Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group (XCMG), Sichuan Railway Investment Group and Tsinghua University.

Researchers from the university developed the “brain” of the unmanned driving system. One of them, Liu Tianyun, told Xinhua that China’s Ministry of Transport issued a guideline in May to advance road building techniques with 5G communications, high precision positioning, and computing power.

The aim is to save on cost and increase productivity. China spent more than $225bn on road construction in the first 10 months of 2019. “With the help of 5G network’s ultrafast connectivity and low latency, we are expecting more unmanned intelligent construction sites in China,” Liu said.

Researchers said the machines can be guided with three-centimetre accuracy.

Image: Shanghai interchange

Source: globalconstructionreview

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ForestVR virtual excursions during COVID-19

Since launching last September, ForestLearning’s ForestVRTM toolkit – learn through immersion, has allowed Australian students to experience first-hand, through 360 virtual reality experiences of forest and mill environments, the renewable cycle of forestry from ‘Seed to Shelter’ in an immersive and engaging way.

The ForestVRTM virtual reality toolkit, and soon to be launched Geography and Design and Technologies teaching resources and lesson plans, was developed and designed through collaboration with the Geography Teachers Association Victoria, the Design and Technology Teachers Association Victoria, and other successful early adopters of VR in classrooms, in conjunction with leading forest and wood product industry partners.

Filmed at 28 different locations across Australia, the 360 immersive experiences and virtual tours are available to view and access via ForestVRTM Apps for IOS, Android and Oculus are also soon to be launched in term 2 2020.

Virtual reality has truly overcome problems around the inaccessibility of visiting physical forests and wood processing facilities - particularly useful and relevant during the current covid19 lockdowns. ForestVRTM 360 video experiences can be viewed by students using virtual reality headsets via YouTube links, but is just as effective as a learning tool using iPads, laptops/computers or smart phones.

360 virtual tours mirror the video experiences and allow students a chance to investigate more deeply each stage of the renewable wood lifecycle from seed to shelter using Roundme online tools. Students see the various stages of the sustainable forestry cycle and learn and investigate how forests are actively managed as a renewable resource. With sustainability as a cross-curricular priority, these tools are being used across a range of subject areas K-12 – science, geography, design and technologies, agriculture and more.

Phase two of ForestVR™, which has been made possible by funding from the Federal Government, will focus on using VR technology to educate students about forest and wood product themes including the uniqueness of Australian forests and their management, agroforestry, and a selection of the broad variety of career options in the industry. The second phase of ForestVR™ is currently in development and will experience some delays in filming due to various state lockdowns with a new launch time of 2021.

Source: Forest Learning

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Remotely operated robot herds NZ sheep

In recent tech events run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association we’ve profiled world leading robotics technologies that are being developed by US-based robotics company, Boston Dynamics. Their “dog-like” Spot robot can now be remotely controlled from anywhere in the world thanks to a partnership with cloud-based software platform Rocos. To demonstrate its new capabilities the US team remotely monitored the robot working on an isolated farm in New Zealand.

Boston Dynamics is slowly figuring out more and more real-world applications for its customizable Spot robot. Last month we saw Spot deployed in a Boston hospital, helping doctors remotely interface with infectious COVID-19 patients. Prior to that we have seen the robot recruited for various industrial tasks, including patrolling oil rigs and monitoring building sites.

A newly announced partnership between Boston Dynamics and Rocos, developers of a cloud-based robot operations platform, is set to dramatically expand Spot’s functionality. And to demonstrate these new capabilities, the Boston Dynamics team remotely managed Spot performing a variety of tasks on a farm in New Zealand, as shown in the video below.

“Robotics companies are producing very capable machines for achieving specific tasks,” explains David Inggs, CEO of Rocos. “The missing link is a cloud-based platform to connect, monitor and automate the activities of a fleet. With Boston Dynamics and Rocos, organizations can now design, schedule and manage inspection missions remotely.” The new software platform allows any number of Spot robots to be remotely managed. This includes the ability to not only manually teleoperate the robots, but also monitor operations and redirect new missions as needed.

Although the new announcement primarily focuses on industrial and agricultural applications, the current global pandemic has seen Spot recruited for some unexpectedly novel tasks. One pilot trial in Singapore, for example, has been testing the robot’s ability to monitor social distancing practices in public parks. As well as lowering the risk of viral exposure for park staff, Spot can broadcast messages reminding people to keep their distance from one another.


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AU$2.2 million for Queensland forestry hubs

The Queensland forestry industry is being boosted by an AU $2.2 million Morrison Government investment in Regional Forestry Hubs. Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonno Duniam said that establishing two new Regional Forestry Hubs in South-East Queensland and North Queensland would support Queensland’s vital forestry industry to drive new investment and create new jobs.

“The development of new forestry Hubs supports the forestry industry within Australia to be globally competitive,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. “The two new Hubs will not only improve the productivity and efficiency of the Queensland forestry sector, it will lead to new opportunities for investment and job creation which is vital to supporting each region and our regional economy”.

“All industry stakeholders, including local communities, growers, harvesting and transport operators and mills, will be working together to unlock new opportunities and address the issues for forestry in each region. I am delighted we are partnering with Timber Queensland to deliver two Regional Forestry Hubs."

The Queensland timber industry has welcomed the announcement of funding to establish Regional Forestry Hubs in South-East Queensland and North Queensland. Timber Queensland CEO Mr Mick Stephens, said this was clear recognition of the industry’s growth potential in the state.

“The Queensland forest and timber industry contributes billions of dollars to the economy each year and supports 25,000 direct and indirect jobs,” Mr Stephens said. “There is already a well-established industry in South-East Queensland with a diversity of softwood and hardwood processing and value adding operations, while in North Queensland, there is the opportunity to develop and grow a sizeable timber industry”.

“The Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia study into the northern Australian forest products industry found the industry in Northern Australia could potentially treble its production value to up to $300 million per annum and create 600 new jobs over the next five to ten years. We believe the North Queensland Hub will be an important mechanism to assist in realising the identified growth potential of the industry”.

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Driving new trans-Tasman certification standard

This month marks the first anniversary of the formation of the strategic trans-Tasman sustainable forest management standard reference committee, the first of its kind – and no one is more passionate about AS/NZS 4708 than its chair Dr Gordon Duff, a Tasmanian-based scientist, professor and researcher.

The new standard will be audited for acceptance by PEFC International to meet the rigorous requirements of a fully-fledged JAS-ANZ accredited sustainable forest management system and to meet current and future expectations for forest management in both countries.

With more than 25 years’ experience in forest management, Dr Duff understands how important it is for stakeholders in the forest products industry to have a standard they can trust, one that balances expectations for social, environmental and economic outcomes.

“The committee is doing a great job of balancing the interests of all stakeholders, taking into account key differences in sustainable forest management between the two countries,” Dr Duff said. One example, he said, was fire management which, in the Australian context, was a key tool for protection and maintenance of forest biodiversity and ecosystem function. “The focus in New Zealand is more on fire suppression or exclusion,” he said.

Dr Duff, who edits the Australian Forestry Journal, is well versed in corporate governance and has chaired the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority, the Forest Education Foundation and the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority. With a focus on producing a standard that balances stakeholder expectations, as well as one that is clear, unambiguous and auditable, the committee is working towards a release of the draft standard for public comment in August-September this year. Once released, the public will have more than nine weeks to review the draft and provide public comment.

“Drawing on the combined experience of the committee, the standard will use wording that is transparent and easily understood and interpreted by all involved in the certification process,” Dr Duff said. Following the expiration of the public comment period, the committee will give serious consideration to all comments and determine which proposed changes will be incorporated into the standard. The draft standards are freely available on the Standards Australia and Responsible Wood websites.

Standard reference committee nominating bodies In Australia: Association of Accredited Certification Bodies. Australian Forest Growers, Australian Forest Products Association, CFFMEU, CSIRO, Environmental Farmers Association, Institute of Foresters of Australia, Independent biodiversity/conservation expert, National Retailers Association, National Timber Council Association, South East Timber Association (community group), University of Melbourne, University of Sunshine Coast.

In New Zealand: Federation of Maori Authorities, First Union- NZ, Forest Certification Associaton, Forest Contractors Association, Farm Forestry Association, Forest Owners Association, Institute of Forestry, Ministry of Primary Industries, Timber Industry Federation, Wood Product and Manufacturers Association, Wood Product and Manufacturers Association.

Source: Responsible Wood

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Strategic assessment of Tasmania’s forestry industry

As Tasmania’s forestry industry is set to play a vital role in rebuilding the State’s economy, the Northern Tasmania Forestry Hub has appointed industry experts to undertake a strategic assessment of the key factors impacting the forestry sector in order to identify opportunities for growth and progress into the future.

The Hub was established to support the Commonwealth Government’s strategy to drive growth in the renewable timber and wood fibre industry in North and Northwest Tasmania, and is consulting extensively with stakeholders across the forestry value chain. Tasmania’s forestry operations produce responsibly sourced wood that is both renewable and sustainable, and support thousands of direct and indirect jobs in regional communities.

The Hub’s General Manager, Ms Monika Winston, has outlined plans for a strategic assessment to be prepared in critical areas of Tasmanian forestry with the objective of driving growth, and removing barriers, in the forestry industry.

“The strategic assessment is focussed on all the critical areas within the sector; land access, supply and infrastructure, climate policy and skills development. The assessment will enable us to understand the key drivers of growth in the industry and to prepare for the future. We are pleased to be partnering with leading Australian industry experts to drive this impactful work,” Ms Winston said.

The Hub has appointed Greenwood Strategy, the University of Tasmania, and the University of Melbourne to work on these projects. Work has already begun, and extensive stakeholder consultation will commence shortly. “We are pleased to be partnering with high calibre organisations both locally, and nationally, to progress this important work,” said Ms Penny Wells, CEO of Private Forests Tasmania and the Chair of the Hub Steering Committee.

Source: Northern Tasmania Regional Forestry Hub

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the racoon & the cowboy

And one sent in by a reader this week - a bit of lockdown humour.

And one more. Editor's note: Best you read this whilst not eating your breakfast or morning tea.

A cowboy walks into a seedy cafe in Saratoga, Wyoming. He sits at the counter and notices an old cowboy with his arms folded staring blankly at a full bowl of chili.

After fifteen minutes of just sitting there staring at it, the young cowboy, quite hungry, bravely asks the old cowpoke, ‘If you ain’t gonna eat that, mind if I do?’

The older cowboy slowly turns his head toward the young wrangler and in his best cowboy manner says, ‘Nah, you go ahead.’

Eagerly, the young cowboy reaches over and slides the bowl over to his place and starts spooning it in with delight. He gets nearly down to the bottom and notices a dead mouse in the chili. The sight was very shocking and he immediately barfs up the chili back into the bowl.

The old cowboy quietly says, ‘Yep, that’s as far as I got, too.’

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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