A critical skills shortage is threatening the future of the wood and paper products industry. A plantation company, ITC, said foresters, saw doctors, wood machinists, harvesting machine operators as well as general tradies like electricians, engineers, fitters and truck drivers were all hard to find. This worker drought even includes a lack of administration, accounting, management and marketing people. That’s been fairly obvious for years in the native forest sector though. It’s hardly surprising that young people don’t want to study forestry just to then help cut forests down.
The ITC head blamed the jobs shortage in part to ‘the ‘demonisation of the industry’ by more radical parts of the green movement.’ But he also admitted the high wages in the mining industry also made it hard to attract workers. Plantation logging is becoming more technically advanced, so employees need more sophisticated skills.
With the maturation of plantations and the opening of more processing plants, the plantation industry is set to grow, but not without workers.