Media release

22 May 2023

Workers’ voices restored in revived forest industry partnership

Australia’s timber workers union, the CFMEU Manufacturing Division, has welcomed the Australian Government’s reconstitution of the Forest and Wood Products Council.
Today’s announcement for expressions of interest to establish a plantation estate in Eastern Victoria will provide no comfort to Victorian workers, families and communities which rely on the forestry industry according to the timber workers union, CFMEU Manufacturing.
The union congratulates the Government for appointing a 40% makeup of worker interests including rank and file trade unionists on the Council. 
Co-Chair of the Council CFMEU Manufacturing Division National Secretary, Michael O’Connor, said:

“The inclusion of workers is a welcome change after 10 wasted years where this key part of the industry was excluded by the Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison Governments from the Council.”

The committee members from the CFMEU Manufacturing Division are:

  • Michael O’Connor
  • Denise-Campbell Burns (CFMEU President, Pulp and Paper Workers District National Secretary, and Chair of industry skills body ForestWorks)
  • Brad Coates (Greater Green Triangle District Secretary) and
  • Sharon Musson (NSW District President and Tumut sawmill worker)

Mr. O'Connor said, “We look forward to working closely with other workers’ representatives on the council from the Australian Workers Union, employer representatives, and all Council members".

“This tripartite body will deliver advice which should result in positive social, economic and environmental outcomes from the sustainable management use of Australia’s forests and ensure that Government policy delivers for workers, their families and communities," he said.

The union will continue to push for Federal Government funded “Forestry Hubs” to have equivalent worker representation as the Council as opposed to no representation which is the current case.


Contact: Rebecca Nicholson – 0409 216053