The workforce is responsible for the management and logging operations of industrial plantation estates, native forests and farm forests. Expert skills are required to meet the various challenges of managing forests sustainably and mitigating the effects of disasters, such as bushfires, as well as utilising data and digital technologies to undertake planning and certification activities. 

Key updates

End of native timber harvesting creating uncertainties. 
Despite the state governments’ commitment to increase support for further development of plantation forestry, the decision to end native timber logging in Victoria and Western Australia from 2024 raised widespread industry concern. This includes its impact on future timber supply, regional businesses across the value chain, and on regional communities linked to forestry value chain operations. 

Challenging operating conditions in recent years. 
The industry has seen weakening harvest volumes and downstream demand across key markets, which can be observed through a gradual declining trend in the cumulative hours worked for occupations such as Forestry and Logging workers in the Labour Force Survey, from 469000 hrs in 2016 to 246000 in 2023.


Potential for skills shortage alleviation
Some occupations within the native timber industry, such as Truck Driver are classified as being in shortage on the Skills Priority List.

Increasing representation of First Nations
Participation by First Nations peoples has risen by 1.4% between 2016 and 2021.

Digital and automation practices
The industry has been readily adopting technology such as drones, scanners, block-chain applications and big data analytics, which are changing industry skills requirements.


Extreme Weather
Following severe bushfires during 2020-2021, excess rainfall from the recent La Nina cycle led to flooding and damage in some plantations, further constraining supply.

Impact from legislations
Introduction of the Ending Native Forest Logging Bill 2023 into Parliament will see further actions to halt logging, which will further impact employment.

Reskilling of workers: Machinery and operations used in native timber harvesting are not readily interchangeable with that used in plantation forestry, requiring further investment for transition.


(2021 Census)


First Nations
(2021 Census)


2028 Projection
(JSA Projections)


(2021 Census)

Workforce Plan 2024

The Workforce Plan describes workforce challenges and skill opportunities identified by stakeholders across the industries we work with and outlines strategies to address them.

The 2024 Workforce Plan outlines four key Workforce Planning Priorities to guide the strategies and planning of our JSC work, retaining the strategic intent of the Initial Workforce Plan, with modifications to align with the Australia Government’s White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities.