Brisbane 2032 Olympics: Focus of Queensland Timber Symposium

Doing Timber Business in Queensland underpins enormous role industry will play in delivering 'climate-positive' games

Fri 02 Jun 23


Over 100 industry professionals attended the ‘Doing Timber Business in Queensland Symposium’ at Brisbane’s Victoria Park Golf Course yesterday (June 1).

Timber Queensland’s fourth biennial conference strongly focused on the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games, set to be the first ‘climate-positive’ games in history, presenting a once-in-generation opportunity for the Queensland timber and forest product industry.

Mark Furner, Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, formally opened the symposium.

Hon. Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, delivered the Ministerial Address. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)

In July 2021, Furner established the Native Timber Advisory Panel to provide the state government with policy options and implications for the future of Queensland’s native forest Industry.

Mick Stephens, CEO of Timber Queensland, sits on the panel, with the importance of resource security discussed during his presentation on ‘State Policies and Opportunities.’

Mick Stephens, CEO of Timber Queensland, discussing state policies and opportunities at the Symposium. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)

Stephens emphasised the importance of forest resource security to allow sawmillers and private native forest owners to invest in the hardwood industry and the role agroforestry can play in boosting timber supply and related productivity benefits on grazing land.

Keynote address: ‘Pathway to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games’

Bart Mellish, the Assistant Minister to the Premier for Veterans’ Affairs and the Public Sector, spoke of the important role timber – specifically engineered wood products – can play in achieving Olympic commitments.

Hon. Bart Mellish, Assistant Minister to the Premier for Veteran Affairs and the Public Sector delivered the keynote address.

“The Queensland government supports efforts to demonstrate engineered wood products and to invest in the future of timber,” Mr Mellish said.

“We can see timber as a building material has great potential in achieving the government’s commitment to a climate-positive Games.”

In particular, Mr Mellish identified the potential of timber in constructing the athletes’ village, achieving a dual legacy as a sustainable venue and as lasting affordable accommodation.

Timber Queensland CEO Mick Stephens welcomed the comments: “As an industry, we all understand the opportunity for timber to play a pivotal role in delivering a climate-positive Olympics.

“Such use would significantly contribute towards a ‘Green Games’ through the carbon sequestered and stored in the buildings and venues themselves while lowering the emissions footprint from the construction phase.”

Mr. Mellish provided Wood Central with the presentation; with an extracted version of the speech published here.

Dr. David Brand: ‘Global Investment environment for forests and nature-based assets’

Dr. Brand, chair of New Forests, addressed the major opportunities for forest and nature-based investment opportunities.

“Sustainable forestry is a solution to climate change both in terms of the potential of forestry assets to absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide low embodied energy and low emission substitutes for higher emitting materials,” Dr. Brand said.

Dr. David Brand, Chair of New Forests, spoke of the great potential for forest and nature-based investments. (Photo credit: Timber Queensland)

On May 31, the Australian Forest Products Association called on the federal government to address Australia’s shrinking plantation estate.

In Queensland, a vast majority of the 234,000 ha of forest plantations was established by the state government between 1930-1980.

One of the major obstacles to investment is regulatory, including the ‘water rule’ in the Emissions Reduction Fund.

In a Wood Central opinion article, Mick Stephens said: “Industry has long argued that this acts as a perverse barrier to any new plantation investment as without carbon payments most plantation projects would fail to deliver an adequate rate of return.”

Further abroad, David Brand flagged that the rise of China as a source of demand will be succeeded by the rise of India over the next 10-15 years and then ultimately by the rise of African populations.

Wood Central has published a supporting article outlining New Forests’ global forest outlook.

Additional presentations

Robert Mansell, Specification Manager for Hyne Timber, spoke about ‘Confidence in Product Compliance.’

Robert Mansell, Specification Manager for Hyne Timber presented at the Queensland Timber symposium.

Hyne Timber was the conference’s Gold Sponsor and has long supported Timber Queensland and the biennial symposium.

Robert Mansell, Specification Manager for Hyne Timber, with Tim McDonald, Business Development Manager for XLAM, and James Hyne, Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Hyne Timber. Hyne Timber is a long-standing supporter of Timber Queensland.

Kerry Fullarton, Hub Manager for the South and Central Queensland Regional Forestry Hub, and Hulton King, North Queensland Forestry Hub Manager, addressed ‘Regional Forestry Hubs – Key Learnings.’

Dr. Tyron Venn, senior lecturer in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, University of Queensland, Kerry Fullerton, Manager, South, and Central Queensland Regional Forestry Hubs, and Jeff McIlroy, Workforce Development Manager, Timber Queensland

Jason Wilson, who recently joined HQPlantations as CEO, discussed ‘Plantation forestry: perspectives from a major grower.’

​Adam Jones, CEO of CLT Toolbox, explored ‘Timber building innovation: what is driving mass timber buildings.’ Mr. Jones recently launched the CLT Toolbox concept, a software platform that simplifies timber design for engineers, making the design more accessible and cost-effective.

David Swain, Technical manager and head of research at TerraCipher, spoke about ‘Data innovation and automation: forestry applications and outreach tools.’ TerraCipher is currently working with the regional forestry hubs to use big data analytics to improve performance in forestry.

Michael Borowick, CEO, ForestWorks, briefed attendees on the ‘Forestry Workforce Training Program.’

Clarissa Brandt, strategic relations manager, Timber Queensland, and Canopy Project manager, launched the Canopy: Queensland’s Forest & Timber Industry Training Hub.’

A ‘first’ for Queensland, Brandt explained that Canopy staff will visit schools and job expos to raise career awareness and highlight the diverse opportunities available within the industry.

“Canopy will concentrate on aligning trainees and graduates’ knowledge and practical abilities with current industry needs,” Ms. Brandt said.

Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, provided ‘An Update on Certification.’

Mr. Dorries recently returned from Vancouver, where PEFC International launched its new PEFC Alliance 2030 Strategy.

Under the plan, PEFC aims to increase its certified forest area by 15% over the next seven years. It targets healthy forests, healthy forest communities, healthy forest workers, and a healthy forest economy.

Alex Riddington, Clarissa Brandt and Cassidy Sawford all from Timber Queensland
Post Symposium Cocktail Function and Future Foresters Initiative Fundraising Event

Attendees were also invited to participate in a Future Foresters Initiative fundraising event. 

The Future Foresters Initiative involves young forestry professionals and forest science students. It aims to support students and early career professionals from scientific forestry or related fields through mentoring, training, networking, and other social and professional development activities.

Sponsored by Rivers Insurance, attendees entered a competition to win $25,000 to benefit the Future Foresters Initiative.

Rivers Insurance sponsored the event.

Colin Tavener from Meyer Timber was drawn to play in the competition but did not win the game.

Craig Tavener from Meyer Timber and Matthew Kinny from Forestry Corporation of NSW were drawn to play the game.

The fundraiser raised $1200 for Future Foresters.

Gold Sponsor Hyne Timber, Silver Sponsors HQPlantations and TerraCipher, Bronze Sponsors ForestWorks, Choice Energy, Rivers Insurance, Australian Retirement Trust, IVS Labs, and Responsible Wood supported the symposium.

Dave Swain from TerraCipher, Dean Ashton from Multinall, Beth Welden from ForestLearning, Boris Iskra from Forest and Wood Products Australia, Colin Tavener from Meyer Timber, and Simon Dorries from Responsible Wood at the Post Symposium event.

Responsible Wood also sponsored a pre-symposium network function on Wednesday, and Forest Works sponsored the keynote speaker address.


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