Nothing is more important to Tiwi people than their environment. The forestry project has played a major role in helping to look after it.
Tiwi Land Council Environmental Manager Kate Hadden said the importance of the unique environmental values of the Tiwi Islands generated a major investment in environmental studies and programs during planning and subsequent establishment of the forestry project.
"For the first time, coordinated threatened species assessments were made possible on Melville Island, and partnerships were developed with organisations such as the Threatened Species Network and the NT Government to expand these studies Islands wide," she said .
Forestry investment has also supported the establishment of the Tiwi Land Ranger program, run by the Tiwi Land Council. Income from forestry is expected to continue to pay wages for Tiwi Rangers.
Forestry Plantation Management provides for environmental management, with its works team looking after fires, weeds, feral animals and all environmental risks from the forestry project.
The Tiwi Land Council keeps an eye on things and runs a number of separate environmental programs on the Tiwi Islands. Sometimes Tiwi Land Rangers partner with forestry environmental staff to achieve outcomes across the whole Tiwi Islands, for example in fire and weed management.
“The forestry project has to meet high environmental standards, including approval under the Australian Government’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
It is Forest Stewardship Council Controlled Wood certified. To be certified, you have to have an environmental management system of a standard that’s internationally accepted, and every year it’s audited. The project has never had a non-conformance identified in an FSC Controlled Wood audit.
We make sure the system picks up all the legislative requirements, including health, safety, environment, social and stakeholder consultation standards,” Kate says. "It’s all added value to our environmental programs."