How far have we come, and where are we headed? For this special feature in the 30th Anniversary Landmark Edition, TimberTrader News asked our timber leaders to share their thoughts.

Being asked by TimberTrader News to submit a 200 to 500 word piece on the current and predicted state of the industry for the next few years is no mean feat, especially considering the current financial turmoil in Europe and China.

At the Timber and Building Materials Association (TABMA) we have just concluded the submission of a three-year business plan to our board of directors. Basically, we could do no more except submit a predicted 12-month plan due to current circumstances occurring both nationally and worldwide. Below are some key points from that plan:

TABMA has six divisions:

  • Membership;
  • Workforce and Career Development (GTO);
  • FITEC Australia (RTO);
  • Building Trade Credit (BTC);
  • Timber Tallying; and,
  • TABMA Investments.

Income from investments is obviously difficult to predict due to the current fluctuations in the stock market nationally and internationally.

Membership is growing, albeit at a slow but steady rate, although membership services such as trade credit insurance and other planned association growth opportunities offer
huge potential.

Building Trade Credit is a solid product, and has a reputation for being reliable and secure while being a product chosen alongside Veda and CreditorWatch.

BTC is very strong within the building and construction industry, and has alliances with Building Industry Credit Bureau (BICB) Queensland and CreditWorks. Slow but steady growth is anticipated in the coming years.

Timber Tallying is responsible for the unloading, sorting and stacking, and quarantine approval of break bulk timber brought into Australia from Canada and the USA’ s West Coast, which is unloaded in Port Kembla, New South Wales. The division is well regarded in the industry and has a reputation for providing a reliable service at competitive prices. Growth is very much dependent on importers deciding to bring in timber in break bulk form, in lieu of containers.

The TABMA group training organisation (GTO) and FITEC are a registered training organisation (RTO) which are experiencing exponential growth. This growth is expected to continue in the coming years in spite of government funding being in a state of flux.

For example, the national vocational education system is currently undergoing unprecedented change. In particular, the NSW Smart & Skilled program is again under review after being altered several times since its inception in January this year. The South Australian Skills for All program has been replaced by WorkReady and is already under review. Queensland has altered its User Choice funding, and Victoria is again reviewing its Approved Provider List.

Additionally, in July this year the federal government’s Australian Apprenticeship centres were discontinued, and replaced by the ‘Australian Support Network’. This means national packages are under review, along with the format of qualifications.

The impact of these changes, and indecision by state and federal governments, is substantial and means we will not have a clear picture of the effects and results until towards the end of 2015.

All in all TABMA is well positioned for future growth, with long-term plans already under way. However, we are reluctant to make a forecast until the international markets settle down and our own federal and state governments overcome their current state of indecision in order to take the bold steps and do what is best for our nation