This years’ special guest speaker was Professor Alex de Rijke, former dean of the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom and principal of de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects, which was awarded Architect of the Year 2013-14.

Professor de Rijke is a renowned timber architect and a pioneer in the use of cross-laminated timber and is responsible for the often quoted statement: “If the 19th century was the century of steel and the 20th century the century of concrete, then the 21st century is about engineered timber.”

The co-convenors of the Parliamentary Friends of Forestry and Forest Products, the Honourable Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Mr Tony Pasin, MP, Federal Member for Barker, co-hosted the dinner.

The event was to be attended by more than 100 people, including almost 40 Parliamentarians.

Senator Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, who has responsibilities for forestry within the Agriculture portfolio, addressed the dinner.

FWPA Chairman Ron Adams said “Professor de Rijke’s experience and passion for working with timber is helping to stimulate the dialogue around using timber as a construction material, and revitalising inner cities to become more sustainable, renewable, and environmentally-conscious.”

Mr Adams said “This dinner provides a great platform for members in the forest, wood and paper products industries to connect with key Parliamentarians and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the industry as a whole.”

AFPA Chairman Mr Greg McCormack said “This event is a great example of collaboration between FWPA and AFPA. It is important for Parliamentarians to see the industry unite in mass, and realise that together we represent 120,000 Australians across the whole value chain, and a further 180,000 indirect employees across Australia.”