Good morning Shane & Jon,

I felt compelled to write to you both to congratulate you on a job well done for teams at AKD Tumut and Hyne Tumbarumba who I understand started their operations today and are now back to full production.  This morning I was extremely pleased to receive photos below showing one of the first loads of logs arriving, the debarking process happening and the AKD team going through their Safe-Start up morning meeting before commencing work for the year.

This is so reassuring for our industry to see as people have been concerned about what happen next and both AKD & Hyne have shown exactly what is happening next and that is full production. Well done.

There are plenty of  negative stories merging from the Bushfire Crisis, but at the same time there are plenty of positive ones, stories of endurance, resilience, teamwork and community spirit and the story of how AKD & Hyne have worked throughout this disaster putting their people before profits, is in my eyes, one of those amazingly positive stories.  To support your employees by providing full wages during the emergency whilst employees fought fires, protected their houses and their mills is beyond what anyone would have expected.

Unfortunately, I understand that some of your employees lost their houses, and some of the surrounding farmlands, bushland and plantations have also been damaged.  However, as we know and as we have seen before, these communities and local businesses will bounce back strongly.

FTMA Australia has postponed our Technical Forum which was due to be held on the 24th February and I will talk to your marketing and local managers to coordinate a road trip for FTMA members to visit the Tumbarumba and Tumut mills and tour some salvage operations when the timing is right.

I think it is important to show support for your local communities and also to educate the supply chain in the salvage harvesting operations as many do not understand how much wood can be processed and how it happens so I think this is a good opportunity to bring the frame and truss sectors together to educate on the resource issues whilst showing support and appreciation to those in the field.

Many FTMA members have indicated their willingness to support these communities and if there are any specific things, we can do in the lead up to the road trip to help the communities and those employees who have lost everything please let us know.  I was thinking of a book and toy collection, where members could bring along a range of these goods for you to distribute amongst your communities to those who need them.’

Anyway, I just felt I needed to say congratulations to both of your teams in returning your businesses to full production so quickly and for supporting your workers, their families and communities throughout this terrible disaster, it is an amazing example of resilience and can-do attitude as we have come to expect from our amazing timber industry.

Yours Truly

Kersten Gentle

FTMA Australia