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The Log - Issue two - Notes from AUSTimber 2008

The international conference and exhibition for the forest industries held at Mt Gambier 3-8 March proved to be a world class event.

Log truck demonstrations at the Austimber static site

The week-long event started with an impressive gathering of over 100 high school career advisors to participate in a two day seminar on different career opportunities in the forest industry. The careers event successfully showed the breadth of opportunities in forestry and with field trips included, the career advisors quickly came to understand that forestry is far more than blokes in singlets and dirty boots! While all agreed the event was a success, the real challenge is to continue this effort beyond the event and ensure that high schools are provided with ongoing information on the industry and support for career advice and industry exposure. We would encourage all our partners to engage with your local secondary schools to help promote the industry and attract new people to it. They are interested to hear from industry but we need to make the initial approach.

The technical conference that followed gave a good overview of the forest industry and where Australia stands in the world.  Of particular interest was a panel held on the research needs in forest operations. Through a presentation by Andrew Wiggle from ITC, the CRC for Forestry Research Programme Three received very good exposure and was put forward as the mechanism to bring forest operations research needs together, including the needs of contractors. Based in part on this session, the president of the Australian Forest Contractors Association has agreed to meet with us and discuss how to become engaged with the programme.

The CRC for Forestry has a CD of all the presentations on the day, please contact Mark Brown to borrow it.

Biomass grinder

The week ended with a large exhibition of equipment both static and active.  All the usual suspects were there as can be seen in a sample of pictures below. Of particular interest was a new harvesting head revealed at the show: Southstar, developed by Rosin and the founder of Waratah. The head has some interesting features, particularly in the design that limits hose exposure and a model with four independently driven feed rollers. Also Valmet had a new “suitcase” harvester simulator on display with many of the features of their full-size simulator but contained within a carry-on size suitcase. Given the need for so many new operators and the value of simulators for screening candidates this could prove to be an interesting tool for some partners.

If you would like to borrow the CD of the AUSTimber programme when it is available or discuss the week in more detail please contact Mark