Long serving Australian forest industries leader Greg McCormack has announced he will step down as Chair of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) following the 2022 Forest Industries Gala Dinner, at Parliament House in Canberra on 14 September 2022, and retire from the Board at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November.
Greg McCormack is the second Chair of AFPA and has served in the role for more than a decade, since November 2011.
The AFPA Board has unanimously elected sitting AFPA Director, Wagga Wagga based agro-economist, Diana Gibbs to replace Greg McCormack as Chair.
Greg McCormack said, “It has been an enormous honour to fill this leadership role and advance, with the AFPA staff, the mission of ensuring our sustainable, renewable forest industries take their rightful place in the mainstream of Australia’s thinking.
“Twelve years ago we set out to unite the industry under one banner, to take our message into the corridors of power more effectively and explain to politicians and the broader community just how vital it is for Australia to have strong, growing forest industries.
“Although the journey is far from over, I am delighted that we secured $300 million in new funding commitments from the Federal Government at the last election, have bipartisan support for planting one billion additional timber production trees, a newly announced $100 million forest industries research centre and recognition in policies that our industry is vital if we are to meet more ambitious climate goals.
“I’m also very proud of the continued support AFPA has provided Australia’s native forestry industries, including telling the story of how critical native hardwood timber products are in our lives and homes. We must keep arguing the climate and economic benefits of keeping our native industries strong into the future.”
“However, it is now time for others to take forward the vision. I look forward to seeing even more success as our industries really carry so many answers to some of the world’s biggest problems.”
The incoming AFPA Chair, Diana Gibbs, has held a long association with Australia’s forest industries and with other regional industries, while bringing extensive director and chair experience to the role.
Diana Gibbs said, “It’s extremely humbling to step into the shoes of an industry statesman like Greg McCormack. Greg has played such an enormous role in forest industries in this nation and done so much good, it is impossible to do full justice to his achievements. For my part, I will continue, as Greg has done, to vigorously prosecute the role of forest industries as a crucial part of a carbon constrained future and a sustainable driver of regional economies. I look forward to working with the Albanese Government to deliver regional growth and a real contribution to the path to net zero, via a strong forest sector.
“This is a win, win, win for our country if it is done correctly. Planting many more production trees will help meet carbon goals, grow more timber to house our children and supply essentials such as food packaging and toilet paper, and at the same time continue to support jobs in regional communities.”
Chief Executive Officer of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “Greg McCormack has been a globally respected forest industry leader for decades. For the last eleven years he has been the clear, strong voice for our industries and taken our cause up before everyone from Prime Ministers, Premiers, Ministers and Shadow Ministers and other commodity leaders.
“Greg has been a voice of reason and never shied from the difficult issues, overseeing the growth of AFPA from a very modest organisation to a formidable advocacy Association with 17 staff around the nation. Under Greg the vision of ‘one voice’ has been growing ever more real.”