The Proud Timber Times: Forest and Wood Products Australia making headlines
The Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) team wanted to wow the then current Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud for a ministerial briefing and presentation.
FWPA, a not for profit, Rural Research and Development Corporation (RDC), works on behalf the Australian forestry industry to advance research and development and promote the benefits of wood. It is one of 14 RDCs that were asked to present an overview of their work and impact to the minister.
Given that FWPA were set to present alongside the other RDCs, the aim was to stand out from the crowd, as well showcase the positive work FWPA does in the forestry industry.
From this need The Proud Timber Times was envisioned.
In this digital age, The Proud Timber Times celebrated what used to be the commonplace go-to for news. A print broadsheet newspaper was chosen specifically to reflect one of the many uses of wood products, paper.
Borrowing from the iconic staple of Australian country newspaper The Weekly Times, and adding a play on words, the newspaper was named The Proud Timber Times – the design and layout were also modelled on The Weekly Times.
Articles in the newspaper highlighted the key issues of interest for government – stories about research and development projects funded by FWPA, including drones and planes used to promote forest growth and fight bushfires, as well as highlighting the cross-industry collaborations FPWA was involved with to build drought resistance.
A feature article on the widespread approval for the forest grower’s levy by FWPA’s members and the dire need for a levy increase made FWPA’s main ‘ask’ on behalf of the forest and wood industry.
The newspaper was produced, printed and sent ahead of the meeting with Littleproud.
Later that year, Littleproud announced the government match of the grower’s levy increase, aimed to boost research, development and extension and biosecurity surveillance efforts in forestry – a key focus for FWPA and highlighted in The Proud Timber Times.
The government promised an additional $0.9 million in 2022-23, $1.6 million in 2023-24, and $2.3 million from 2024-25 will go to research and development initiatives, to be managed by FWPA.
In a media release Littleproud echoed the value of research and development in the sector that is integral to FPWA’s business practice.
Littleproud commented, “Investments in research and development are critical to ensuring that our forest and wood products industries are able to continue to supply the critical products that Australia needs.”
Direct reference was also made to the broad support from forest growers for the forest grower’s levy, which was laid out on the front page of The Proud Timber Times. “We have listened to our forest growers and are increasing our matched levy funding to Forest and Wood Products Australia at their request,” Littleproud said.