fwca who we are


Forest & Wood Communities Australia is bringing together people who are fed up with being victimised by activism.

We represent families and communities rely on a prosperous timber industry and want to see us stand up to bad government policy and bias media. We DO NOT represent industry, we represent the people within it. We are NOT a union – we talk to all sides of politics on behalf of our members.

  • We understand the mental impacts forest workers and their families suffer as a result of the relentless attacks on sustainable forestry.
  • We highlight the positive work our members do in times of crisis.
  • We recognise activism as deceptive and destructive and stand up to it without fear or favour.
  • We are a professionally run organisation with a board and an advisory council made up of representatives from our member base.
fwca forestry mission


FWCA’s primary mission is to give forest workers, timber communities and those who embrace natural timber a voice in government, regulatory authorities and the media on issues which affect them.

We Support

  • The sustainable, renewable and carbon-storing timber industry.
  • Ethical and lawful forest management, including safe workplaces.
  • Fair and balanced political decisions affecting the timber industry.

We will fight against

  • Corporate activism which capitalises on harming our industry.
  • Malicious workplace activism which threatens worker safety.
  • Anti-forestry “science” funded by corporate activism.


Forest & Wood Communities Australia is a professionally run organisation with a board of directors and an Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council is made up of 16 people who work in or support Australian forestry and the communities it supports. It meets regularly to discuss issues which directly affect our membership, from telling the stories of hard-working foresters to dealing with illegal workplace invasions.

Our board is elected from the Advisory Council and we are growing as we are joined by more people who want to protect our timber communities.

Steve Dobbyns BSc (Forestry), Chairman

Steve is a third-generation forester who grew up in NSW forests and took a career in public and private sector forest management.

After completing a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree, Steve attained accreditation as a Registered Professional Forester having been assessed by expert practitioners and deemed to possess the experience, skills and knowledge identified by the RPF Registration Committee for that forester’s area/s of expertise.

Now with more than 30 years’ experience in forestry, Steve has a comprehensive knowledge of forest management and the people who work within it.

Steve also serves on the board of Timber NSW and is a member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, NSW North-East Pilot Forestry Hub, and ForestFit Contractor Training and Certification Scheme Industry Reference Group.

Kelly Wilton, Director

Kelly grew up in a Tasmanian timber town as the daughter of a forester. Her family has forestry roots back to European settlement and considers timber towns as her cultural heritage.

A strong grassroots advocate for the timber community, Kelly became focused on issues impacting forestry in 2011 when the then State and Federal Labor/Green Governments signed an agreement to transition out of native logging into plantation. The agreement locked up half a million hectares of valuable timber production resource into formal reserves, and that resulted in hundreds of lost jobs across every timber community in the state.

Kelly has continued to lobby governments on timber community issues, and via her Facebook page Support Tassie’s Timber People has given grassroots people a voice. Her tireless work has fostered a trust within the community and as a result she is a respected advocate at all levels of government.

Sometimes described as an anti-activism activist, Kelly is committed to defending forest communities against the corporate activism and exposing the lies and propaganda used to denigrate sustainable forestry.

Tom Marland, Director

Tom is a fifth-generation cattle and hard wood timber producer from the Gaeta district north of Bundaberg in Queensland.

He is practicing lawyer and specialises in agribusiness transactions. He also represents landholders across Queensland faced with coal, gas and infrastructure development on their land.

Tom is a passionate rural advocate who speaks widely on issues that impact rural and regional communities.

Tom believes that sustainable forest and timber management is critical in avoiding future bushfire disasters and also helping Australia meet its carbon emissions reduction targets.

He is also the author of a Facebook page Tom Marland – Food for Thought, Thought for Food.

Peter Rutherford BSc (Forestry), Director

As well as working in forest operational and management roles since 1972, Peter has been dedicated to protecting the forest industry and communities it sustains against what he describes as “political and activism bastardry”.

He joined the Forest Protection Society in the 1980s and saw it transition into Timber Communities Australia. As well as agreeing to becoming a foundation director of Forest & Wood Communities Australia, he serves as secretary for the South East Timber Association.

Peter has a unique understanding of the fabric of timber communities having worked as pine plantation gang member before completing a four-year forest science degree at ANU. He then worked for the NSW Forestry Commission for seven years including planning and harvesting native forests, roading, plantation establishment, fire mitigation and bushfire fighting.

He has worked in various roles including plantation development, managing waste-water irrigation trials and as a Group Captain in the NSW volunteer bushfire brigades. He managed Forestry Victoria for four years and spent two years in forest policy before moving to Eden to manage log supply to the chip mill, the company’s plantation program and CFA industry brigade.

Karen Stephens, Director

Karen’s focus is as a community leader within the Green Triangle, having served on the Glenelg Shire Council since 2002 and as Mayor for two terms within that time. It is her work as Chair of Timber Towns Victoria and the Native Timber Taskforce that makes her a great fit for Forest & Wood Communities Australia.

As well as those leadership roles, Karen has been involved in several regionally significant projects – chairing the review by Australian National University of Land Use Change in the Green Triangle Region and Barwon South West Women’s Forum for Climate Change and is current Chair of the Green Triangle Freight Action Plan Implementation Committee who have successfully advocated and achieved over $190million for road funding in the region.

As a founding member of the Casterton Kelpie Association Karen developed the internationally renowned Australian Kelpie Muster and was a driving force behind the development of the now completed Australian Kelpie Centre in Casterton.

Karen is also involved with the Budj Bim Sustainable Development Partnership Leadership Group, Green Triangle Regional Plantation Committee and Green Triangle Region Freight Action Plan Implementation Planning Committee.

Justin Law, Managing Director

A career journalist, Justin became involved in forest issues while writing for the Eden Magnet in a timber community on the NSW Far South Coast. His work to understand the relationship between sustainable forestry and anti-forestry activism led to the conclusion that timber communities were suffering for purely ideological and politically motivated interests rather than legitimate concern for the environment.

A short contract role with South East Fibre Exports gave Justin an even greater understanding of forestry’s socio-economic benefits and how interwoven local industry is with regional communities. A series of interviews with representatives of generations of foresters revealed a deep passion for the health and future of the forests among those people and Justin became invested in telling their stories.

He has experience as a communications professional and remains committed to supporting foresters and forest communities, who contribute to society, by calling out spurious science and corporate activism which denigrates them.


Ensuring the interests of timber workers and lovers of timber products are not ignored by the media, the government and corporate interests.

timber log


FWCA commits to:

  • Representing the interests of the 10s of thousands of people in Australian forestry, the communities they live in and contribute to, and their supporters.
  • Demanding a fair go for foresters in the bush who are forced to endure malicious workplace invasions funded by irresponsible corporate activist organisations.
  • Supporting effective native forest management which achieves ecological as well as socio-economic outcomes.
  • Engaging in honest discussions about Australian forestry with focus on science and facts rather than ideology.
  • Standing as a united voice against the tirade of destructive agenda-driven anti-forestry campaigning by corporate activism which profits from demonising sustainable forestry.