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The Network Bulletin #2

Thank you for such positive feedback to the Network's new look weekly Bulletin, which will replace the monthly Newsletter during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Bulletin is designed to keep members updated, informed and connected during this difficult time as the forest industry continues to work safely and hygienically, with many of you working from home or observing the physical distancing obligations on site. 

There are many good news stories to tell in the forest and forest products industry at the moment, as many businesses have successfully adjusted their business practices to continue to supply goods and services. The Bulletin will keep you updated on these.

We continue to support the pressure being put on Government to declare the forest industry an essential service.  The forest products industry supplies a raft of critical products. As the Responsible Wood correspondence to the Prime Minister notes, the forest and forests products industry is the 'glue ' that holds the nation together. Shutting this industry would significantly delay economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19

We also noted that members really appreciated all the tips regarding working from home and assistance to families to continue to work and live together harmoniously while confined to home. We have included more tips and tricks in this in this edition and will continue to do so.

We also know it is Easter this week.  We include an Easter competition and urge you to send your best (funniest or most individual) Easter photos or video.

Happy Easter from the Network – it is sure to be like no other!

Forico operations during COVID-19

We along with our industry colleagues continue to face the enormous challenge presented by COVID-19. Forico is monitoring the situation at a local, national and international level with scenario planning underway to ensure the health and safety of our workers as a priority. 

Forico proactively implemented controls prior to the escalation requirements introduced by the Tasmanian Government, these controls have included:
•    Implementation of a Pandemic Response Committee 
•    Office based staff working from home
•    Restriction on multiple staff travelling together in vehicles 
•    A move from single to multiple shifts at our Somerset Nursery and Fibre Technology Laboratory 
•    Separation of shifts in our Mills (no shift cross over) 
•    Increased cleaning protocols for all points of contact/common areas
•    Additional personal protective equipment issued
•    Review of contractor compliance with government requirements
•    Option for our older vulnerable employees to elect to self-isolate 

Forico currently has its workforce deployed:
•    40% working from home 
•    36% working on site in a revised capacity (shift structure changes) 
•    24% working a combination of field work and working from home

The following video provides some insight into the cleaning/disinfecting protocols that have been implemented at our Surrey Hills Mill at Hampshire.

Stay Safe.

Bryan Hayes,

Click on the above image to view video from Forico's Surry Hills Mill at Hampshire. 

Coronavirus Safety Survey - Tasmanian Forest Industry

The Network's Industry Communications Working Group has created a short survey to better understand your confidence with operating safely through COVID-19 and if the implementation of safety measures currently poses any challenges.

Your feedback will help shape dialogue to government about the safety measures being implemented throughout the sector, so that they can make informed decisions for the safety of our community. It will also assist in other communications moving forward. 

It would be greatly appreciated if you could please spare just a couple of minutes to complete the survey, via the below link.

Please note that the deadline for responses is 5pm Wednesday 15th April 2020. 

An update from Guy Barnett 

Protecting and building Tasmania’s Forestry Industry
The Tasmanian majority Liberal Government is the strongest supporter of the Forestry Industry and recognises it is vital employer in many regional communities. 

As we all face the extraordinary challenge of COVID-19, the Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to protecting and building the Forestry sector and supporting the Tasmanian communities and families that rely on it. 

To protect the health and wellbeing of all Tasmanians the State and Federal Governments have initiated wide ranging restrictions that are affecting every aspect of our economy, businesses, jobs and communities. 

Tasmanians are encouraged to continue going to work, but to operate in a way that limits contact with other people.
As a long-time advocate of the Forestry Industry, I will continue to work on your behalf and represent the sector, including continuing to work closely with the Federal Government. 

To support Tasmanian businesses and communities during this time, the Tasmanian Government announced our second round support package, which sits alongside the Federal Government package. 


Key stimulus measures applicable to the Forestry industry

•    ELECTRICITY - The Government is providing financial relief from energy costs for forestry businesses and individuals across the state.
  o    Many small business customers will have their next quarterly energy bill waived.
  o    Energy prices will also be capped for 12 months for all regulated electricity customers, and Aurora is implementing a range of measures to help such as payment plans, freezing debt, bill relief, and waiving fees and charges.
  o    Aurora Energy will not disconnect any residential or small business customers, without their agreement during this crisis.

   TASWATER – Business that receive the electricity waiver will also receive a 100 per cent waiver on the first Water & Sewage bill issued on or after 1 April 2020.
  o    Water prices will be frozen for 2020-21 for customers on regulated tariffs. 

•    GOVERNMENT FEES FROZEN - for households and businesses the Government will freeze all fees subject to the Government Fees Unit provisions in 2020-21, including:
  o    Land Tax Waiver for commercial property where the land tax is paid by the business owner that has been severely impacted. The Government will waive land tax for commercial properties for the coming financial year, 2020-21.
  o    Heavy vehicle registration and motor tax waivers. For Heavy Vehicles with GVM > 4.5t the Government will waive fees for registration and the Road component of motor tax for 12 months.
  o    Vehicle registration, businesses that have been severely impacted can apply to suspend registrations and then reactivate them when they reboot.
  o    Payroll Tax Waiver – three month waiver of payroll tax for all businesses up to $5 million as announced in the first Tasmanian Stimulus Package will be increased to a period of 12 months.

•    $50 million SMALL BUSINESS INTEREST FREE LOAN FUND - $20 million Small Business Interest Free Loans will be increased to $50 million and the eligibility for business loans will extended and available to all businesses with a turnover under $10 million per annum.

•    $40 million SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS PROGRAM - $20 million emergency grants program and a $20 million larger grants program.

   SMALL BUSINESS CONTINUITY ADVICE - $750,000 to provide business continuity and accounting advice to small businesses. This will ensure that small businesses have access to authoritative advice on cash flow management and business options.

•    RURAL FINANCIAL COUNSELLING SERVICE - $200,000 funding to Rural Business Tasmania for the extension of financial counselling and support services to provide helpful advice and guidance to small and micro businesses and sole traders in rural and regional areas.

For specific information on business support grants and loans, please refer to the Business Tasmania website or call them direct on 1800 440 026.  Information on the Federally, you can access information at
Aurora and TasWater have also implemented assistance schemes and information is available on their websites.
I encourage everyone to look out for each other, be considerate and be kind. Stay at home unless you need to go out for work, essential supplies, exercise or you’re caring for someone. For more information, please contact my office. 

Joint Statement – Forest certification schemes unite for industry

During this unprecedented crisis, Australia’s forest industries are putting their hands up, not out. The industries want to continue providing the essential products Australians rely on to get them through the coronavirus pandemic. Australia’s two forest certification schemes, Responsible Wood and the Forest Stewardship Council, are joining their voices to urge the Prime Minister and the National Cabinet not to shut down this critical industry when it is needed the most.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the letter sent to the Prime Minister and the National Cabinet.
The Department of State Growth has released the second Forestry Industry Communications Update.
Download it HERE 

Northern Tasmania Forestry Hub Update

Supplied by Monika Winston, General Manager, Northern Tasmania Forestry Hub

I am pleased to share a good news update with you this week. As you know I have been working with the Hub Steering Committee to set up assessment reports in our key priority areas, which are outlined below.
1.            Access to land and land use policy for plantation forest investment
2.            Supply chain and infrastructure
3.            Climate change and carbon policy
4.            Culture, skills and training

Each assessment report is designed to be a rigorous, effective and detailed assessment of the relevant priority area to determine the technical issues, needs and opportunities for progress of the forestry industry into the future.
A tender process is now officially underway to commission the four assessment reports outlined above. Expressions of interest to prepare one or more assessment reports can be submitted until 24 April 2020. You can find more information about this at
Once applications close, we will engage in a robust selection process before work on the assessment reports commences next month. An ongoing part of this project will involve stakeholder consultation, and we will continue to provide opportunities for key stakeholders to be involved.
As we embark on this impactful work, I look forward to sharing more project updates with you in this forum.
Article taken from the Sunday Tasmanian, 5th April 2020


In this dynamic and challenging landscape, how are you staying connected and well while maintaining productivity and continuing your job?

The aim on this section of the Bulletin is to show examples of how the Tasmanian forests and forest products industry is navigating these strange times. 

What triumphs and challenges are we facing, both individually and as an organisation? 

How are we adapting to a ‘new normal’ by maintaining productivity whilst working flexibly (at home or in the field) as well as focusing on our wellbeing and staying connected. 

We would love for you to share with us what your ‘new normal’ looks like! Please email Naomi a photo, video, or article showing us your ‘new normal’! 

Each week we will share some examples of the ‘new normal’ of our members!

Send us your examples, and you'll automatically go into the draw to WIN a voucher to a shop/cafe/restaurant of your choice! 
From Martin Moroni
Project Manager Domestic Processing & Bioenergy, Department of State Growth

The image is of me in my home office.
I sit near the window as I like natural light. I planted the banksia outside the window as it has beautiful orange flowers. I am going to need to invest in a new chair and likely a standing desk as I clearly didn’t work too hard from home till now and I’m feeling the pain of sub-standard office equipment. 
To help me get through the day I have started to do a 10km bike ride daily, and am finding myself surrounded by similarly thinking people, with many riders, runners and walkers on the streets now. I was enjoying the occasional ride on my Triumph Rocket 3, but was recently involved in an accident that wrote it off, and though not hurt I find myself mourning the loss of this wonderful motor cycle. I will need to get another. I have invested in a second screen for Netflix so I do not have to watch the shows my kids watch.
From Naomi Will

My two year old, Arthur, is enjoying the new normal of streamed exercise classes, and loves joining in. 

Wish the moves were that easy for me!

Health and wellbeing resources & tips

R U OK have some fantastic resources available to assist in maintaining health and wellbeing during these times of physical distancing. Click on the links below to read the short articles and download additional resources.


The Black Dog Institute also have a handy guide to working from home and supporting your mental health. View the checklist below.


Easter Competition - what does your Easter look like?

This Easter is sure to be a unique one for many of us. We would love you to share with us what your Easter looks like in a COVID-19 world. Maybe it's a family House Party catch up on Good Friday, a virtual Easter egg hunt, or perhaps it's not really any different this year, with you upholding existing traditions just with your household?

Send us a photo, video or email with what Easter 2020 looks like for you. We'll select one entry to win a $50 voucher from your favourite local restaurant/takeaway!


The Network wishes you and your family a safe
and happy Easter, however different it looks this year!

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