New board to oversee new forestry centre development

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New board to oversee new forestry centre development

The State Government has appointed a transitional board for Mount Gambier’s new Forestry Centre of Excellence with Professor Rob Lewis named as the independent chair.

The board will comprise – Managing Director of Green Triangle Forest Products Managing Director Odette Lubbe, Timberlands Pacific People and Culture Manager Emma-Kate Griffiths, University of South Australia STEM Dean of Research Professor Jason Whittle and Department of Primary Industries and Regions Industry, Strategy and Partnerships Executive Director Jo Collins.

Professor Lewis, who is currently Science Without Bounds Director, has already been contracted by the State Government to facilitate engagement between industry, government and other stakeholders, along with providing strategic advice and leadership in establishing the Forestry Centre of Excellence.

The centre is initially being established within the University of South Australia (UniSA), with oversight by this transitional board and an independent chair while the final structure is designed.

Once in place, operations will be transitioned to a permanent structure and the transitional board replaced with a skills-based board.

The State Government has committed $15m over 10 years for the new centre, the first of its kind in South Australia, and it is being developed to create long-term research and development capability to enhance the Green Triangle’s economic prosperity, generating more jobs and investment in the region.

To be established at the existing UniSA/TAFE precinct in Mount Gambier, the centre will accommodate entities such as the National Institute of Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) along with UniSA, the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub (GTFIH), Tree Breeding Australia and the Logging Investigation and Training Association (LITA Training).

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven said the centre earlier this year released its strategic plan, and a global search is soon to commence for a centre director to lead its research objectives and connect with industry to identify key resource requirements.

“The Green Triangle timber industry is acknowledged as Australia’s plantation forestry forerunners, significantly contributing to the nation’s economic, environmental, and social fabric,” she said.

“Forest industries are among the most significant contributors to our state’s economy, so it is essential we ensure the Centre of Excellence has strong leadership.

“I am pleased to appoint this outstanding cohort to the Transitional Board, who will be well led by independent chair Professor Rob


“This board will provide important leadership for the centre now and will play a key role in the transition to an independent board.”

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise and Standing Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington AO was delighted with progress.

“The University of South Australia has a deep commitment to the State’s regional communities, and to advancing South Australia’s priority industries,” she said.

“The timber industry is a key sector for the state, and crucial for Mount Gambier and the Green Triangle region, and the appointment of the transitional board is a significant step in the development of this critical world-class centre.”

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