MechLog is enthusiastic and optimistic about the future.

Machines working in a plantation.

The Forest and Wood Products industry generated $23.1 billion in revenue and contributed $7.2 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product in the 2019–20 financial year. As of April 2021, the sector employed over 52,000 people. There is growing confidence in the forestry sector – a sentiment shared by many industry leaders, including MechLog Director and CEO, Jillian Aylett Brown. In an exclusive interview for Australian Forests & Timber News, Jillian shares her enthusiasm and optimism for the future of forestry in Australia.

MechLog Director and CEO, Jillian Aylett Brown

By any measure, Australia’s forestry sector has faced a challenging few years. As we leave the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, recovery in terms of social confidence and economic growth continues on a sustainable trajectory. A strong export market, commitments to large infrastructure projects by state and federal governments, and private and public sector confirmation of plans to build tens of thousands of new homes across Australia, all  bode well for the timber industry.

Speaking about a post-pandemic resurgence in the forestry industry, Jillian Aylett Brown said that every aspect of the forestry industry will benefit from forecasted increased demand for timber products for at least the next eight years.

“Personally, while most forecasts extend out to 2030 or 2040, I see the forestry industry becoming more stable, sustainable, and imperative to the Australian economy for many decades,” Jillian said.

“Research undertaken and published by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences in Global Outlook for Wood Markets to 2030 suggest that:

  • Global consumption of roundwood is likely to increase by about 10 per cent to 2.2 billion cubic metres by 2030, supported by strong economic and population growth in Asia. Similarly, woodchip consumption is also expected to increase by about 40 per cent to 350 million cubic metres by 2030;
  • Globally, the sustainable harvest of existing wood fibre resources is expected to be sufficient to meet rising global consumption out to 2030, with wood prices increasing modestly at a rate of one per cent annually in nominal terms;
  • Large shifts towards imports of roundwood and woodchips in Asia is expected by 2030 as the sustainable yield of local supplies reach capacity. It is expected that these imports will be supplied by producers in Europe and North America, increasing the amount of interregional trade in global wood markets; and
  • Roundwood production and exports from Australia and New Zealand are expected to be stable and remain constrained by the sustainable yield of existing forest resources.

“An IBIS report suggested that rising demand from residential and non-residential building construction is forecast to support the timber wholesaling industry’s recovery over the next five years. Ongoing home improvement trends are projected to support DIY consumer demand at the retail level, boosting sales of timber products to downstream retailers.

MechLog Director and CEO, Jillian Aylett Brown discussing training options with Work Health & Safety Manager, Duncan Norton.

“Demand from wooden structural component manufacturers is also forecast to rise on the back of growth in residential building construction and manufacturers source timber for structural components, such as doors and window frames, to construct and renovate dwellings. Demand from downstream wooden furniture manufacturers is forecast to rise over the next five years, as greater construction activity stimulates demand for everything from house frames to furniture.

“As a forestry services provider, MechLog is preparing for a period of sustained growth and stability in the forestry industry as we assist our clients to meet the needs of downstream industries and manufactures. We are upgrading equipment, recruiting staff, and identifying career paths for existing staff; so, as our contracts grow, we will have people in place to assist MechLog to expand its service offering to existing and potential clients.

“There is a chronic shortage of workers across all sectors of the Australian economy and the forestry sector is no exception. The issue we face in forestry is one of perception. Too many potential employees still look at the industry as it was pre 1997 before the signing of the Forestry Accord. You cannot compare the industry of 25 years ago to the modern, safe, professional, sustainable, and environmentally-aware forestry industry of 2022.

“MechLog has an open book policy of prequalifying prospective employees, identifying potential in our existing workforce, offering training, and encouraging people to take on more responsible roles.

“A typical MechLog employee is skilled, highly qualified, environmentally aware, and committed to a career in forestry.

“This is an exceptional time to be part of the forestry industry for growers, contractors, and employees. Forestry is, without a doubt, Australia’s most sustainable industry; one that will continue to be a cornerstone of the Australian economy. MechLog is forecasting growth of 10-15 per cent over the next five years, with an annual investment of $3.5m in new equipment and a continuing commitment to training and upskilling for our workforce. MechLog is enthusiastic and optimistic about the future,” Jillian said.

MEDIA NOTES: Mechanised Logging Pty Limited (MechLog) is an Australian forestry services company that commenced operations in 1994. Since that time, the company has established its brand and its ‘Forestry with Care’ approach to industry practices as a respected services provider to the sector. Over the years, MechLog has kept pace with the latest technology and forestry practices. By embracing the changes within the industry, adopting new technologies, and maintaining a fleet of modern equipment, MechLog has built a successful sustainable business, and created greater efficiencies and productivity to meet the requirements of their clients and the demands of the end-users.

Media contact: Mark Wells +61 414 015 966

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