The recent FTMA State Seminars, spread across Perth, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales, marked a significant milestone in the Australian timber fame and truss industry. The hefty turnout – nearly 25% of the nation’s timber fabricators – is a testament to FTMA’s strong networks.

These seminars were more than just gatherings; they were a hotbed of knowledge, innovation, and camaraderie.

While each seminar was united under the umbrella of timber promotion, production and industry growth, there were distinctive differences in the topics discussed at each location. The Perth Seminar uniquely focused on Western Australia (WA) specific issues, taking into consideration the local challenges and opportunities.

On the other hand, the seminars in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales followed a more uniform agenda.

The myriad of topics covered in these seminars offers a glimpse into the industry’s dynamic and evolving landscape. From technical insights to market forecasts, the seminars were comprehensive, addressing not just the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ behind the trends. Crucially, the discussions shone a light on the comparison between timber and steel, a dialogue that underscored the multifaceted advantages of timber.

Whilst the presentations by the two WorkSafe Authorities provided conflicting views on the issue of delivery to top plate in NSW and Victoria, which demonstrated the need for ongoing dialogue on the issue and the need for industry best practice guidelines.

The attendance of key state ministers, such as The Hon. Mark Furner, Queensland Agriculture & Forestry Minister, and The Hon. Nick Champion, South Australian Housing Minister, was important. Their presence not only lent weight to the proceedings but also demonstrated a strong governmental endorsement of our industry. Their understanding and interest in our sector will play a vital role in formulating supportive policies that will drive the industry forward. Ministers Furner and Champion’s involvement underlines the government’s recognition of the timber frame and truss sector as a significant contributor to Australia’s economy and its sustainability goals. Such interaction are crucial in shaping future government strategies and initiatives that align with our industry’s growth and sustainability objectives.

We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to our stellar lineup of speakers for their invaluable contributions to the FTMA State Seminars. Tim Woods of IndustryEdge, Patrick Schweizer of Alares, and Alastair Woodard of Wood Products Victoria, whose expertise and insights truly enriched our discussions and understanding. We appreciate the time and effort they have expended to share their wealth of knowledge with the membership.

Furthermore, our thanks extend to the engineers from the three nail plate companies who tackled the key technical issues specific to each state. Your commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm have left an indelible mark on our seminars. Thank you for your time, your expertise, and your unwavering support for the timber frame and truss industry.

The seminars were not solely about feeding mind, but also about building networks. The coming together of fabricators and suppliers from diverse backgrounds fostered an environment of collaboration. We know that networking is a powerful tool, but here, it felt more like a community or family coming together.

We encountered an unexpected turn of events when Kersten, was unable to attend the Queensland seminar due to COVID. But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. In this instance, the silver lining was none other than Nikita Gentle. Nikita stepping in as the host for the Queensland State Seminar was so appreciated and according to all the feedback, she did an excellent job.

No FTMA State Seminar would be complete without the much-anticipated networking dinner which including some trivia, that closes out each event. The networking dinner served as a platform to exchange ideas in a relaxed and informal setting, further strengthening the bonds within our community. Then came the trivia – an epitome of light-hearted rivalry. The trivia sessions, featuring questions on the day’s topics and general knowledge, sparked friendly competition and lots of laughter. It proved to be the perfect way to unwind after a day of deep-dive discussions and intense learning. The combination of wisdom, laughter, and fellowship at these networking dinners truly encapsulated the spirit of the FTMA State Seminars.

In the grand scheme of things, the FTMA State Seminars were a resounding success. They instilled a sense of unity and direction in the industry, ultimately paving the way for a promising future.

Our next big event is the 2024 FTMA National Conference in March. We hope to see everyone there.

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