12 March 2012A Kiwi has been appointed chief executive of VicForests, the Government of Victoria's agency that manages the allocation of harvesting rights to the state's native forests. Robert Green was previously VicForests' director of sales and contracts and has a strong international experience in many facets of forestry. With an honours degree in economics and commerce from the University of Otago, he previously worked in fibre supply, marketing and distribution and business development for several timber NZ companies, including Carter Holt Harvey. He was general manager of Snavely Forest Products in San Francisco before joining VicForests.
Mr Green's appointment follows a critical but largely positive assessment of VicForests' first five years of operation conducted by consultant URS for Treasury. The state government is now reviewing the legislation that governs VicForests.
"I think we will see some significant changes to the way timber is allocated. Some of the underpinnings will remain. We are still required to be financially prudent," Green told BusinessDay.
Among the proposed changes are two key related moves: giving VicForests control over the part of native forest available to industry; and giving native timber processors more resource security through long-term contracts of up to 20 years.
URS said VicForests had been hamstrung by the original structure, in which the Department of Sustainability and Environment allocated it forest areas on a short-term basis, when VicForests needed a long-term plan but did not control the resource.
About 730,000 hectares of public native forest is available to the industry - just under 10 per cent of the state's 7.8 million hectares of forest - with 3.5 million hectares in reserves.
Source: Philip Hopkins, Sydney Morning Herald. To read the full story, click here.