AFPA dinner a night of accolades for industry champions and PM’s commitment to forestry

Nearly 300 industry stakeholders packed the Federation Ballroom at Canberra's Hyatt Hotel on November 29 for the Australian Forest Products Association Members Dinner, addressed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Minister for Forestry Murray Watt, Senator Jonno Duniam, Shadow Minister for Forestry, and retiring FPA chair Greg McCormack who was honoured for his service to the forest industries.

Wed 30 Nov 22


The PM provided a strong endorsement of Australia’s sustainably managed native and plantation timber industries and their vital role in achieving Australia’s net zero emissions goal and global partnership to end deforestation.

He congratulated AFPA and the National Farmers Federation for leading a joint agriculture and forestry delegation to the climate talks in Egypt and was adamant that Australia’s signing of the Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership at COP27, initiated by the UK, is completely consistent with supporting climate smart forestry such as is practiced in Australia:

“The partnership is consistent with our sustainable native forestry practices, and it will see us focus on promoting sustainable production and trade, along with scaling up regional carbon markets,” Mr Albanese said.

“We will work together to meet our commitments and provide new and yet-to-be-developed renewable forest materials to help move Australia to a net zero economy.” Mr Albanese also backed the vital role of Australia’s timber plantation sector in meeting Australia’s net zero emission goals and committed to working with the sector to maximise its opportunities in the carbon market by removing regulatory barriers in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Friends and colleagues gather around Greg McCormack (third from right) to wish him well as he retires as AFPA chair after 10 years in the role. Joining in the occasion, which included a presentation to Mr McCormack of a crafted timber table are (centre) Diana Gibbs, new AFPA chair, the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Joel Fitzgibbon, who has been elected AFPA interim CEO after long-standing CEO Ross Hampton announced his departure from the position.

“I know the plantation industry wants to play its part in achieving net zero emissions, and we want to work with you in doing just that,” Mr Albanese said.

“One thing we’re particularly keen to do is to ensure that your sector can fully participate in generating and benefiting from carbon credits. We are undertaking an independent review of our carbon credits system so Australia can benefit from a strong and credible market place, and we’ll continue to work with you to remove barriers to investment in plantations and farm forestry including changes to the water interception rule.”

Chair of AFPA Diana Gibbs said sustainable forest industries were privileged to have the Prime Minister present at the dinner.

She said AFPA represented forest growers, harvesters, and manufacturers of timber and paper products.

“Mr Albanese and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Murray Watt, both spoke forcefully and passionately about the vital role forest industries must play in delivering climate goals, timber for homes, regional jobs and sovereign capability.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to thank them both for the more than $300 million in election commitments which were delivered in the Budget. These commitments will help us drive innovation to deliver more timber from the sustainably used forests we already have as well as start the urgent business of adding more production trees to the estate.

“The federal government has committed to seeing another billion production trees planted to ensure we have the timber for our children’s homes. We are well behind on this goal. As well as stocking the hardware shelves, a billion more trees will also be a major down payment on the government’s 43% emissions reduction target, so we really are in a position to deliver a ‘win-win’ if the policy settings are right. “Importantly, we also have bipartisan support for these policies, and we thank Shadow Minister for Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Jonno Duniam for speaking in support of these policies and being such a passionate supporter of Australia’s sustainable forest industries.”

The Canberra dinner included by the Minister for Forestry Murray Watt, and Parliamentary Friends of Forestry, Timber and Paper Products co-convenors Senator Raff Ciccone and Senator Jonno Duniam.

Long-serving AFPA chair Greg McCormack was also honoured for his service to forest industries, receiving a hand-made timber cabinet a gift for his work over the years.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton, who has also announced his departure from AFPA next year to seek new opportunities in the UK, made an opening presentation to Jim Bowden to mark his 45 years as a timber journalist and nearly 60 years as a rural writer both in Australia and overseas.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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