|HISTORY OF THE FOREST INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION
DURING the immediate post war period the reconstruction of war damaged centers and active programs of establishing new rural centers, led to a dramatic increase in domestic requirements for sawn timber here in post-war Papua New Guinea.
The operation of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers’ (now PNG Forest Products Pty Ltd) at Bulolo commenced plywood manufacture in the 1950’s and in the pre-Independence period there was significant export of sawn timber and other forest products mainly to Australia.
About this time, the widely dispersed operating companies, under suggestions from an active Department of Forests, saw that it was in the interests of a growing sawmilling industry that it should have a collective representative voice, and hence the ancestor” of today’s Forest Industries Association was born.
The Association took an active role in negotiations with Government, on industry development, royalties, infrastructure requirements, marketing and standards in the early days. At that time also, very active liaison with Australian industry was maintained.
With the evolution of development, and the advent of large scale agricultural projects, notably oil palm estates in West New Britain, the export of logs was commenced from Papua New Guinea as land was cleared for oil palm. With the success of these operations, Government began to look on log exporting operations as:
- Sources of increasing Government revenues.
- Means to generate rural infrastructure as conditional requirements to be established by operators for log export quotas.
- Means of creating rural employment opportunities.
It became evident to the original Association in the late 1960’s, that the scope and nature of the industry was rapidly changing, and it lobbied the Government successfully to create a statutory body to oversee and promote the interest of the timber industry in Papua New Guinea. Subsequently, the Forest Industries Council was created by an act of Parliament.
The Council was initially designed to be the forum for industry (through the Forest Industries Association), and government representatives to meet and to guide the development of the sector. Funded totally by the industry operators, the Council was effective in its early years but in later years its function became clouded and its performance declined alarmingly.
With the passing of the Forest Act 1991, the Forest Industries Council was abandoned as a forum for industry concerns. Under the new Forest Act, the Forest Industries Association is identified as the body recognized to represent the interests of the industry, and has a position on the National Forest Board.
The Association is intent on maintaining active representation of its member’s concerns, and this has caused a higher profile than was previously the case, in view of the many public issues which have been generated over the last couple of years.
The Association’s objectives clearly set out its responsibilities to its members:
- a) To promote Membership of the Association to all bona-fide corporate and like entities engaged in the logging, milling, manufacturing, merchandising, exporting, utilization and associated servicing and support industries directly or otherwise dealing with PNG forest resources.
- b) To support and protect the integrity, character and status of the forest industry sector and the collective interest of Members of the Association.
- c) To represent the collective interests of Members through representative participation on the National Forest Board, direct communication to Government and through contact with other available agencies or media
- d) To foster balanced environmental, community, and economic responsibility and practical forest management principles within the forest industry sector.
- e) To oppose any dishonourable conduct or unlawful practice among entities engaged in or associated with forest industry sector.
- f) To consider and promote the Association’s policy position on matters relating to the forest industry sector.
- g) To assess the effect of Government policy, legislative and regulatory measures and other matters on the forest industry sector and where necessary represent the collective views of Members of the Association on these matters to Government, the National Forest Authority, and the community generally.
- h) To liaise and communicate directly with Government Departments, Agencies and Authorities which regulate or have an influence on the forest industry sector.
- i) Generally do all other such things as may appear to be incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.
The Association is a non-profit organization of many interest groups participating in the sector. Membership ranges from major foreign investors, small local companies, landowner groups, manufacturers, service and associated entities sharing the common interest of “Sustained Forest Industry for Papua New Guinea”.
Membership of the Association is voluntary. Current members account for about 85 per cent of total forest industry production. Annually the members elect an Executive Committee of ten to manage the Association’s affairs. The
President of the Association represents the industry on the National Forest Board.
The Association invites membership from all entities directly engaged in the commercial utilization of forest resources. Further information can be sought from:
The Executive Officer
Forest Industries Association
P.O. Box 229,
Papua New Guinea