TCA Young Community Ambassadors hit the bush capital


The bush capital was abuzz as four Timber Communities Australia Young Community Ambassadors arrived to start activities in Canberra on 1st June.

The six-month skills development program, led by TCA national coordinator Helen Murray, will equip the Young Ambassadors to take a lead, raise awareness and promote our industry in their own neck of the woods.

“TCA congratulates the first group of talented Young Community Ambassadors,” said Ms Murray.

They are:

Leilani Dawes from the Mt Lofty region of South Australia. She is interested in encouraging South Australia’s school children and others to appreciate the region’s forests better through recreational activities. Leilani studied conservation and biodiversity in Adelaide and appreciates where she lives and works for ForestrySA.

Michael Dent, originally from Mt Gambier, works in Victoria’s La Trobe valley plantation forests with HVP. He began studying architecture, graduated in forestry and is now doing a Masters of Business Administration. Concerned about low awareness, Michael wants to promote the environmental credentials of timber and interesting job opportunities along the supply chain to school students.

Roy Head is a fourth generation family member in Australian Solar Timbers, which manufactures premium flooring at Kempsey in northern NSW. A graduate in media and communications, he admires the unique qualities of the Australian native species timbers. Roy is Sydney based and his focus is to better inform the design and architecture community.

Matthew Randall from Albany in Western Australia, is a forester with the PF Olsen team. He loves working in the bush and his career in forestry began as a machinery operator. He is now undertaking forestry studies. Matthew is interested in the new opportunities for timber in the bio-economy and seeks to promote better understanding in the community.

A fifth Young Community Ambassador Allan Hoffman is based at Portland, Victoria, with his family’s Hoffman Forest Harvesting. He is keen to open school students eyes to career opportunities. Allan plans to join the next intake on account of his current work commitments.

The group kicked off with a day of round table discussion sessions. Thanks go to Rob de Fegely (Institute of Foresters Australia president and co-chair of the Forest Industry Advisory Council), Fabiano Ximenes (research scientist at NSW DPI), Ric Sinclair (managing director Forest and

Wood Products Australia), David Rowlinson (Planet Ark) and designer and craftsman Evan Dunstone (Dunstone Designs) for sharing their expertise with the Young Ambassadors.

The group had a great night of networking at the National Press Club dinner and pre-election federal politicians’ forestry industry debate run by the Australian Forest Products Association.

A media training day covered the importance of good preparation and having clear key messages. “The group is working with TCA to develop key messages to support community advocacy across the TCA network.”

The final social event was an informal dinner hosted by TCA chair Brenton Yon.

Thanks go to sponsoring partners Linx Finance, HVP, PF Olsen and Forestry SA for each supporting one place in our inaugural Young Community Ambassadors initiative. “Their commitment will help to develop a new generation of community voices,” said Ms Murray.

TCA also thanks all candidates who applied for the limited places. “We encourage everyone to continue their interest in raising community awareness about the industry.”


Media contact

Helen Murray (National Coordinator) ph. 0419-991-424 or

TCA Young Community Ambassadors unwind over dinner in Canberra. L to R: Helen Murray (TCA national coordinator), Roy Head (NSW), Michael Dent (Victoria), Brenton Yon (TCA chair), Matthew Randall (WA), Leilani Dawes (SA).

About Timber Communities Australia – TCA provides a voice for a national network of timber communities across Australia.

Media Release 10th June 2016