Fennell Forestry gears up for phase two

MASTERPLAN: Minister for Forest Industries Clare Scriven and Premier Peter Malinauskas check out Fennell Forestry's electric truck.

Charlotte Varcoe

FENNELL Forestry will receive a $200,000 cash injection from the state government to commence phase two of an electric log truck trial.

The funding for phase two the Fennell Forestry project will examine how heavy vehicle decarbonisation can contribute towards a green circular economy.

It will build on the outcomes of a phase one trial run from last year when Fennell Forestry tested the nation’s first electric heavy vehicle.

A further $70,000 in funding will be handed to the South Australian Forest Products Association to develop a State of the Industry Report.

The funding announcements followed the release of the South Australian Wood Fibre and Timber Industry Masterplan.

The plan aims to provide a vision to further grow and develop the state’s $1.4 billion forest and timber industry with three main goals identified aiming to strengthen the industry, domestic manufacturing and infrastructure capability.

These goals include the right resource and capability, a “future focused” workforce and a “clean and green” circular economy.

It has been developed by the Forest Industries Advisory Council of South Australia in consultation with the Minister for Forestry Clare Scriven and will be reviewed annually.

This will be done to keep pace with the socioeconomic and environmental changes influencing the industry including international trade, climate change and technological developments.

Fennell Forestry Managing Director Wendy Fennell said the region had a great fibre resource in the Green Triangle region.

“We are looking forward to working with the government on this,“ she said.

“These are the steps we have to take to see how we can meet those targets and we are working out if it is operationally suitable.“

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said as the “birthplace” of Australian plantation forestry, the state’s industries had a “long and distinguished history” of nurturing a “forward thinking” and “innovative” mindset.

“Today is an important day for the forestry industry for locals and the nation,“ Mr Malinauskas said.

“This is an industry of the future and it is true Green Triangle Forestry is home to serious plantations and is an industry of tomorrow.“

He praised Ms Fennell and Fennell Forestry for their vision and risk-taking.

“Decarbonising is an important endeavour and I recognise Fennel Forestry for their leadership,“ he said.

“Wendy is a demonstration that risks can take off.“

Chair of the South Australian Forest Products Association Governing Council Tammy Auld said the Masterplan has been developed in consultation with stakeholders from the forest and timber industries through the revitalised Forest Industries Advisory Council with an aim to work towards a future where all fibre grown in the region will be locally processed.

“South Australian Forest Products Association (SAFPA) are grateful to the state government, especially the Minister for Forest Industries, Clare Scriven, for listening and working in collaboration with the industry to deliver this Master Plan,“ she said.

“We know that if we can process all the fibre grown in the region, we have the ability to create over 20,000 new jobs, ensuring that South Australia has sovereign fiber capacity at the same time as decarbonizing our economy.

“With projects such as the Fennell Forestry electric log truck, the government isn’t just talking about change, but supporting transformation and innovation within the region.

“Our industry certainly believes that the forest industries have a big role at the heart of the government’s ambition for re-industralisation, and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with the Minister, Premier and all members of Parliament to protect, enhance and innovate our beloved forest industries.”

Ms Scriven said the forestry industries remained a “significant contributor” to the state’s economy with the master plan presenting the “vision to be a future focused circular economy” as well as “sustainably driving the state’s economic prosperity” with “globally recognised skills and innovation”.

“I am delighted that government has worked side by side with a broad section of the forest industries to deliver this election commitment, and this plan will be of significant benefit to this vital industry,” Ms Scriven said.

“Collaboration has been a key part in the development of this master plan and I look forward to the ongoing partnership with industry through FIAC-SA as the associated projects are implemented to ensure that all South Australians continue to benefit from the sustainable growth and future success of South Australia’s forest industries.”

Other projects identified as priorities through the master plan are expected to be developed and implemented over the coming three years.