The ForestWorks Industry Gala Dinner was originally scheduled to include a keynote speech from the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Minister for Agriculture. Unfortunately, due to last minute commitments, Mr Joyce had to cancel – making way for the Prime Minister Tony Abbott to take the stage.

It was the second year running that Mr Abbott addressed the ForestWorks dinner, and again he appeared before a delighted and captive audience.

He reiterated the points made by
Senator Richard Colbeck earlier in the evening, stating that he too felt positive about the current state of the industry, and was looking forward to protecting the industry’s future.

“I must have said something right when I was here last year because, since then, for the first time we now have a parliamentary “˜Friends of Forestry’ group, and why shouldn’t we?” Mr Abbott said.

He went on to elaborate that one of the Federal Government’s priorities is to ensure that the industry continued to thrive for years to come, comments that were met with a resounding standing ovation.

“You are a splendid industry, you are the kind of industry we want to ensure has a bright and brilliant future – because the point I tried to make last year, and that I will make again this year, is that you are the original conservationists.

“If there is one group of people that want to sustain and preserve our forests, and who want to conserve our forests for the future, it’s the people who make a living from them…so I regard you as friends of our environment,” he added.

The industry was excited to once again hear the Prime Minister’s words in support of their livelihood, and in support of the education of Australian-wide audiences about the “carbon positive” status of their industry.

This year the dinner had a record number of MPs, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Advisers and Senior Department figures in attendance.

Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, also announced the release of a Strategic Directions Issues Paper for the forestry industry.

The Paper’s aim will be to stimulate much needed discussions regarding the future of the forestry industry and sub-industries.

The dinner followed the annual ForestWorks conference titled “Innovation in Action”, which this year applied a practical focus to allow attendees to learn about the latest in applied innovations for the industry, supply chain “˜Innovation Working’ groups and the broader ForestWorks innovation skills program.

This year there was a big focus on the importance of a collaborative industry achieving innovation.If you missed the event, you can view Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s speech from the dinner and additional photos at