Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 23 2016 Contents 88 • THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 23
Council has promoted the Policy at a range of state and
national conferences, and has established a working relationship
with educational institutions, Planet Ark, the Forest and Wood
Products Association, Timber Towns Victoria, the Victorian
Association of Forest Industries, and the Australian Forest
Latrobe City is home to Australia's largest pulp and paper
manufacturer, one of Australia's largest softwood timber
processors, and a number of hardwood and softwood timber
plantations. Gippsland's forestry processing industry sources
wood from more than one million hectares of harvestable
public native forest, and from 100,000 hectares of softwood and
hardwood plantations. The plantation resources in the region are
managed as large-scale industrial plantations.
Development of the Policy was driven by Council, in
partnership with an external steering committee. The steering
committee included representatives from the Australian Forests
Products Association, Wood Solutions, Planet Ark,
RMIT University, AUSTimber 2016 and Lend Lease.
Over four months, the group worked to develop the
practical, yet aspirational, framework that will change the
delivery of Council projects for years to come.
Cr Sandy Kam, a driving force behind the development and
adoption of the policy, said that it signalled Council's intent
to drive wood-related development in the region. 'Our area is
a "fibre basket", with established industry players responsible
for employing more than one thousand workers and injecting
more than $800 million into the regional economy every year,'
Cr Kam says.
'We are proud of this pioneering policy that leads by
example -- showing the local community, the wider region
and the rest of the country that we are clear in our purpose
to encourage the use of wood and wood products as suitable
materials for Council projects. The Policy also recognises that
wood and wood products may not always be the best materials
to use in isolation from other construction and fit-out materials.
'Wood is a sustainable, carbon-friendly product that we
can source locally, so we hope this policy will see an increase
in research and development opportunities. The Policy will also
support Council's efforts to drive job creation, and will see the
industry strengthen and diversify in our community.
'Since adopting the policy, we have been vocal in calling for
recognition of its value in terms of growing our economy, the
support that the sector provides for our existing industries, and
providing further investment and expansion opportunities for
the wider Gippsland region.'
As demonstration of this commitment, Council
hosted AUSTimber 2016 in April this year -- a prestigious
international event held every four years. 'AUSTimber is
recognised as one of the top forest expos in the world, and
it was an ideal platform to showcase our thriving timber
industry, to capture nationwide attention to promote our
Policy, to influence key stakeholders and to educate the
local community on the importance of the timber industry
to our region,' says Cr Kam.
'This policy is bigger than just timber and wood
products. It has the potential to positively influence the way we
live, the sustainability of our lifestyles, and the future economic
vitality of Latrobe City and surrounds.'
The Policy Goals detailed in the Wood Encouragement Policy are:
• to stimulate sustainable economic development within
the Gippsland timber and wood products industry, and
encourage production of value-adding products within the
• to encourage the use of wood in the construction and
fit-out of Council buildings and infrastructure
• to recognise all of the benefits that make wood a smart
choice for Council buildings and infrastructure
• to share information and encourage education regarding
the benefits of using wood in construction and fit-out of
buildings and infrastructure
• to demonstrate local and national leadership by enacting
the Wood Encouragement Policy on Council buildings and
• to encourage the use of wood in demonstration projects
across the municipality
• to align with opportunities for state and federal funding
• to reinforce Council's preference for quality wood buildings
in the development of briefs for projects
• to promote the industry as a renewable resource, capturing
the environmental benefits of the resource.
Council work is continuing to engage with the range of
Council activities that relate to the Wood Encouragement Policy.
The operational service areas involved have been identified
across the whole organisation.
In addition, Latrobe City Council is undertaking promotional
activities to raise the profile of the policy within the local and
broader community. Examples of this work include promoting
the policy to the state government in the design of a new tech
school that is being built at Morwell.
As detailed in the Policy, support is being offered upon
request to assist other organisations to develop policies with the
same intent. Information and literature has been sent to councils
all around Australia. Information has also been sent to a range of
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