Goal 3: Ensure efficient, effective and safe delivery of business outcomes

“We are self-sustaining and profitable and continue to invest in the long-term economic health of the timber industry in regional Western Australia.”

Our State Government partners

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

We work collaboratively with the DBCA to implement and monitor forest management activities under the Forest Management Plan, we provided the DBCA with more than $9 million this year to support forest management and fire suppression, and in addition, $200,000 has been invested for the ongoing funding of a sandalwood enforcement officer and funding for the development of the Biodiversity Management Plan for Sandalwood. 

Conservation and Parks Commission

We worked closely with DBCA and the CPC to prepare the mid-term performance review of the FMP, which was released in February 2019. The performance review assessed the implementation of the FMP’s management activities developed to achieve ecologically sustainable forest management outcomes for forests in the South West.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services

We actively contributed staff to the management structure for large-scale fire emergencies, and we are a member of the All Hazards information group, which supports the sharing of information and resources during emergencies. We actively engage with DFES’ Office of Bushfire Risk Management in assessing landscape fire risk and developing appropriate response and protection strategies. We are collaborating with DFES on proposals to reduce fuel loads and bushfire risk to communities in peri-urban areas.

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

We continued our membership with the Myalup Wellington technical advisory group and the Myalup Primary Industries Reserve Senior Officers Group, where we partner on activities in the Wellington catchment. We are working with DWER to replace non-commercial plantings established in the catchment with Pinus radiata plantation, which will maintain the water objectives and provide a financial return. 

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

We continued our membership with the Biosecurity Senior Officers Group and maintained a close relationship with the Western Australian Biosecurity Council. Through this group, we look to jointly help protect Western Australia’s unique flora and fauna from invasive species. 

Focus on staff professional development

There is an ongoing focus on the professional development of our employees and their training needs are discussed twice a year through the Individual Performance Development (IDP) process. 

A new IDP format was developed this year, making the process easier to follow and more effective for employees and managers to discuss training needs and requirements. 

IDP discussions will continue to be held twice per year to ensure staff have the opportunity for continued development.

Staff snapshot

We employ 220 people across our work sites, with 72 per cent of our staff located in regional towns. This includes permanent full time and permanent part time employees, fixed term contract and casual employees and trainees.

Type of staff FTE Headcount
Permanent full-time employees (excludes Attached Officers) 137 137
Permanent part-time employees 13.5 20
Fixed-term full-time employees 16 16
Fixed-term part-time employees 2.8 4
Seconded in FPC 2 2
Attached Officer seconded out from FPC 0 0
Attached Officers 0 0
Casuals - 41
Total 171.3 220

 

Staff working inside metro area  - 61
Staff working outside metro area - 159
Total - 220

In line with State Government requirements, the FPC had zero leave outside of guidelines in 2018-2019. 
 

Our workforce plan (equal opportunities)

Our Equal Opportunity Management Plan has been integrated into our workforce plan. We are committed to: 

  • ensuring the culture of the FPC results in employees who are treated in a fair and equitable manner in all decisions and processes that affect them; 
  • fostering a workplace that is free from all forms of discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and 
  • building a workplace environment that considers our employee’s family structures, age, culture and social backgrounds, and endeavours to provide a range of flexible working arrangements to accommodate these factors. 

 

Focus on Aboriginal traineeship and employment opportunities

We are committed to increasing employment opportunities for Aboriginal peoples in forestry. 

We are investing in a new generation of Aboriginal foresters and forest industry professionals to create opportunities for Aboriginal peoples, and we welcomed four trainees to the FPC this year. This program is a key action of our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan and aims to provide opportunities for Aboriginal people with an interest in forestry or land management to learn the skills required for employment within government and the forestry industry.

Photo caption: Four enthusiastic trainees were appointed under our Aboriginal traineeship program this year.

Business improvements

Adopting new technology and collaboration with industry is creating efficiencies across our business.

We continued improving our information systems, with the implementation of a new Contract Management System and the replacement of the Deliveries and Billing system. The systems are integrated with the financial management system and will increase the efficiency and reliability of our customer invoicing and contractor payments.  

During the year, we initiated a tender process that aims to replace the current paper-based delivery notes with an electronic delivery note system. This will enable a step change in the management of logistics through the availability of real-time information on deliveries.
   
Working with industry through the South West hub steering committee, we examined ways to reduce the cost and risk associated with log haulage, and create efficiencies across the industry. This was undertaken through a value stream mapping process that identified significant opportunities to improve the coordination of truck movements.

We have begun a process for divesting uneconomical plantations that will allow us to focus financial and management resources on increasing the softwood estate in line with the Softwood Industry Strategy for Western Australia.  

Research

All forest sectors where the FPC operates are being transformed through participation in research projects and changes in technology.

We contributed data to a three-year research project by the Forest and Wood Products Association which aims to improve how fertiliser is used in plantations. The data will support the development of a model to predict the correct amount and type of fertiliser to use during plantation establishment and post-thinning depending on a range of factors such as soil type, location, rainfall zone and climatic condition. 

Joint breeding trials with STBA continued to identify new Pinus radiata families that are suitable for growing in Western Australia. Ongoing glasshouse screening trials were also used to determine the resistance of selections to Phytophthora cinnamomi (dieback). Data collected from these trials will be made available to other STBA softwood growers across Australia and will be used to select dieback-resistant families to plant in our breeding orchards.   

We continued to investigate the effects of natural hormones in stimulating sandalwood oil production in young sandalwood trees through a joint study with Edith Cowan University. No significant gains in oil yields were detected.

Research into sandalwood regeneration has continued, with ongoing trials to improve the germination rate of seeds. The seeds were treated with a natural growth hormone and planted at the trial site, however due to low rainfall, results have not yet been determined.

Photo caption: Advances in technology are facilitating our participation in research projects and driving transformations across our business. Photo credit: Energy Images.

New technologies support log value optimisation

This year, we continued to develop new technologies and methodologies that maximise the value recovery of forest resources through changes to the planning, harvesting and processing phases of operations.

We have invested in collaborative projects that trial the use of point cloud data and the use of virtual reality software to plan the harvesting of forest coupes.

We have been building on our harvest head optimisation and value recovery project to increase the level of real-time decision-making in harvesting operations.

The use of Computed Tomography Log scanners is being investigated as part of the ITPY project. This technology may enable the assessment of internal defects within a log and ensure that products sold to customers are fit-for-purpose.  

We will begin delivering some of these new initiatives in 2019-2020 as part of the continuous improvement in value recovery. 
 

Remote sensing technology implemented to improve efficiency and accuracy of harvest planning

We continued to explore opportunities to advance forestry by using technology.

This year, we began a trial to integrate remote sensing techniques in jarrah forest harvest planning as part of a broader Australia-wide program by the National Institute of Forest Products Innovation. 
The trial will produce three-dimensional models of jarrah forests from laser scanning and photography. The data from this project will provide information on species, tree metrics and forest structure. 

We continued to work with DBCA on a photogrammetry trial to estimate standing volumes by taking three-dimensional aerial imagery at plantation trial sites.

In collaboration with the University of Tasmania, in a Forest and Wood Products Association project, the potential for foresters to capture tree measurements using virtual reality technology was investigated. This initial trial on virtual reality was completed in June and the results will guide any further research opportunities in the use of virtual reality.

Adopting remote sensing technologies like these will lead to more detailed, timely knowledge of the forest, and enable better decision-making in planning and implementing harvesting operations across our business. This would lead to improved ecological and silvicultural outcomes and operational efficiencies. 

Photo caption: High-resolution imagery captured by drones could help foresters assess jarrah forests more efficiently and improve our harvest planning process.

Identify broader national and international industry on common research and innovation trends

Collaborating with industry in research projects has enabled us to be part of national and international trends in forestry innovation.

In addition to our membership with Forest and Wood Products Australia, we have invested in collaborative research projects through the National Institute of Forest Products Innovation and the Southern Tree Breeding Association. 

These projects are ongoing and explore the potential for adopting improved technologies and systems such as remote sensing to identify tree metrics and better modelling for selecting superior breeding material.

Sustainable forest management performance

Sustainable forest management strikes a balance between nurturing healthy forests for the future and enjoying the benefits of forests, like using forest products, today.

Our forest management activities are regulated through a three-tiered compliance framework.

The three tiers include:

  • Regulation through the CPC Forest Management Plan 2014-2023 and DBCA’s environmental compliance monitoring. 
  • Our internal Corporate Governance Framework and Integrated Forest Management System.
  • External monitoring through independent audits of our systems and processes.

FPC’s Integrated Forest Management System
The FPC continually improves its Integrated Forest Management System. During 2018-2019, we were externally audited against the International Standard ISO 14001: 2015 (for an Environmental Management System) and the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) AS 4708: 2013. As part of this process, we transitioned from ISO 14001:2004 to ISO 14001:2015 standard. Our primary forest certification, AFS, is internationally recognised by the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Our AFS certification excludes our sandalwood business and some other operations, but we are currently in the process of investigating independent verification of legal sources through the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification® (PEFC®) Chain of Custody of Forest Based Products (PEFC ST 2002:2013).

Karri forest management
Our 2018 Karri forest management plan and Karri forest HCV assessment were reviewed to meet the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Controlled Wood Standard (FSC-STD-30-010; FSC-C120630) and the associated FSC Australia’s High Conservation Values (HCVs) evaluation framework. We undertook stakeholder consultation on the identification of HCVs within the defined forest management unit and the precautionary measures in place to protect them. 

Occupational safety and health

We made a significant improvement to safety reporting this year through engaging with our staff and contractors and streamlining the reporting process.

The FPC’s Strategic Safety Management Plan 2019 – 2024 has been endorsed. This plan is due for release in the second half of 2019 and includes improving our engagement with staff, contractors and industry, and upgrading safety systems and technology.

We engaged a road safety specialist to complete a review of our road construction and maintenance processes, procedures and safety standards. The review provided a number of recommendations identifying areas where there are opportunities for improvement.

We continued to engage effectively with FIFWA, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)/Civil Service Association (CSA) on occupational health and safety (OHS) matters. The FPC meets with FIFWA bi-monthly at an Industry OHS and Training Committee meeting and is working collaboratively with FIFWA to drive improvements in safety at an industry level. The primary focus of this committee to date has been identifying the high-hazard activities and working towards the development of training and audit programmes related to these activities. The FPC also meets with AFPA on a quarterly basis. In 2019, the FPC worked with CPSU/CSA representatives to implement a systematic process to manage personal protective clothing and equipment. This process will ensure the provision of the appropriate equipment to undertake role-based tasks and to ensure that the equipment provided is fit for purpose.

Our OHS committee was restructured to ensure safety management is discussed at all levels with employee involvement. This is a three-tier structure - Strategic, Operational and local office OHS committees. We continued to focus on driver safety, with an investigation into ways of monitoring kilometres driven and the development of a strategy to reduce driving. We also introduced a requirement for all staff to complete a defensive driving course, which will be rolled out over the next year.

Log truck safety

Log truck safety remained a priority for the FPC, with our Chain of Responsibility Steering Committee guiding the implementation of more stringent requirements for log truck contractors to ensure compliance with road transport safety requirements.

This year, we partnered with FIFWA to introduce a specialised skills verification system. This will allow the FPC and our contractors to more closely manage and assess staff and employee competency and training for their individual roles.

We are continuing to develop processes to identify road hazards and alert contractors of any potential risks to their environment.

Safety incidents

Indicator* 2017-2018 2018-2019 Target
Number of fatalities** 0 0 0
Lost time injury / disease incident rate 0.56 2.16 0 or 10% improvement on the previous 3 years
Lost time injury severity rate*** 100% 0 0 or 10% improvement on the previous 3 years
Percentage of injured workers returned to work within (i) 13 weeks and (ii) 26 weeks *** i) 0%
ii) 100%
i) 100%
ii) 100%
Greater than or equal to 80% return to work within 26 weeks
Percentage of managers trained in OSH and injury management >80% >80% Greater than or equal to 80%

* The statistics are reported in accordance with the Public Sector Commission's Circular 2018-03  Code of Practice OSH in the Western Australian Public Sector
** While there were no FPC employee fatalities for the 2017-2018 year, there was one fatality of an FPC contractor's employee
*** There was only one lost time injury during 2017-2018, but it was classified as severe

 

Develop whole of industry incident assessment and safety reporting

The FPC is committed to improving the safety performance of the forestry industry.

We have taken a leadership role in this space, working with FIFWA, who will be appointing a project officer to drive the development of safety processes for industry.

As part of this, we collaborated with industry to identify opportunities for improving safety monitoring and reporting, and increasing training across all sectors of the Western Australian forestry industry.

We set key performance indicators for our contractors to continually increase the amount of near-miss reporting to assist with identifying trends and the issues requiring attention.

Working to improve the training and safety performance of the industry, we participated in a forest industry safety and training committee which reviewed and discussed incidents and investigated the development of training courses tailored specifically for forestry.

Photo caption: We have committed to working with FIFWA to improve the industry’s safety performance.