2. Case study and methods

​This section describes the case study region, and provides a brief overview of the methods used to measure the different indicators measured for this report.

2.1 Case study: North East Tasmania

This section reports results of testing indicators in north east Tasmania. This region was chosen to test indicators because it contains a large proportion of total forest industry activity for the state.

Figure 1 below shows the local government areas (LGAs) included in the north east Tasmanian study region. They include all the LGAs in Tasmania’s northern NRM region1.

This is an image of a map Figure 1: Map of the north east Tasmania case study region. 

Figure 1: Map of the north east Tasmania case study region2

Where possible, indicator data for this case study are presented for different ‘Statistical Local Areas’ in the study region (described below), for the ‘Northern Statistical Division’, also described below, for the state of Tasmania, and for Australia as a whole. This enables comparison of trends in individual local areas within the region, as well as comparison of the region as a whole to state and national averages.

Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) are geographic regions measured by the ABS which are either the same size as, or smaller than, local government areas. Within the study region, each LGA is made up of between one and three SLAs, as shown in Table 1. SLAs are often either equivalent to the boundaries of previous LGAs which were amalgamated, or separate the city and rural areas of an LGA.

Table 1: Statistical Local Areas located in each Local Government Area


SLA/s in LGA

Description of SLAs

Break O'Day (M)


Break O'Day (M)

SLA is the same as LGA

Dorset (M)

Dorset (M)

SLA is the same as LGA

George Town (M)

George Town (M) - Pt A

George Town (M) - Pt B


LGA has been split into two SLAs. Part A covers the west of the municipality along the Tamar River, while Part B covers the rest of the LGA.

Launceston (C)

Launceston (C) - Inner

Launceston (C) - Pt B

Launceston (C) - Pt C

LGA has been split into three SLAs, in which ‘Inner’ is equivalent to the city of Launceston, ‘Part B’ is in the west of the LGA along the Tamar river, and ‘Part C’ covers the east of the LGA, including much of the rural land.

Meander Valley (M)

Meander Valley (M) - Pt A

Meander Valley (M) - Pt B

LGA has been split into two SLAs, where Part A is urbanised and effectively forms part of the city of Launceston, and Part B covers the large majority of the area of the municipality.

Northern Midlands (M)

Northern Midlands (M) - Pt A

Northern Midlands (M) - Pt B

LGA has been split into two SLAs, where Part A is more urbanised and closer to the city of Launceston, and Part B covers the large majority of the area of the municipality.

West Tamar (M)

West Tamar (M) - Pt A

West Tamar (M) - Pt B


LGA has been split into two SLAs, where Part A is located along the Tamar River in the east of the municipality, and Part B covers the remainder of the municipality.

Statistical Divisions (SDs) refer to groupings of LGAs which are considered to have some geographic and economic linkages that mean they form a coherent group. The case study region LGAs all form part of the ‘Northern’ Statistical Division, which also includes the LGA of Flinders (Flinders Island). Flinders was not included in the case study as it does not have forest industry activities. Data are presented for the Northern Statistical Division throughout this report; this region is referred to as ‘Northern SD’ to ensure it is recognised as the ABS defined Northern Statistical Division.

For some indicators, it was not possible to gather data to the LGA scale, with only larger scale data available. This is identified as each indicator is presented and discussed.

2.2 Methods

The data sources and methods used to measure each indicator are explained briefly as each is presented in Section 3.0. A more detailed discussion of the methods used to calculate each indicator can be found in Schirmer et al. (2008a).

This section describes the types of data used to measure indicators, with all indicators presented in this report measured using one of two types of data:

  • Data from existing sources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS); or
  • Data from a small survey of Australian forestry workers undertaken for this consultancy.

2.2.1 Data from existing sources

Where data from existing sources have been used to calculate indicators, the data source and methods used are briefly described when the indicator is reported. More detailed information on the methods used to calculate each indicator can be found in the methods used to calculate each indicator can be found in Schirmer et al. (2008a).

2.2.2 Data from survey of forestry workers

Some indicators could not be measured using existing data as no data are currently available for them. Where this was the case, data were gathered via an online survey which was sent to forestry companies operating in the case study regions examined for this consultancy3.

The survey included a range of questions on forest workers’ health, wellbeing, and attachment to place and to the forestry industry, including:

  • Health – the types and severity of health problems experienced;
  • Workplace health risks – a rating of the extent to which the work the respondent undertakes is believed to present a health risk (e.g. hours worked, stress, exposure to noise, exposure to physical risk);
  • Satisfaction with different aspects of life (family, finance, overall level of satisfaction);
  • Satisfaction with different aspects of work in the forest industry (e.g. the amount of challenge their work presents);
  • Level of attachment to the local community the respondents lives in; and
  • Level of cultural and family attachment to forestry.

Valid survey responses were received from 132 respondents. Of these, 54 were based in Tasmania, 19 in the Green Triangle, and 56 in other regions. This means the responses from Tasmania can be compared to responses from workers in the other regions included in the survey4.

Responses to the survey are likely to have been biased. Respondents were predominantly involved in managing plantations and native forests, with a smaller proportion involved in silvicultural activities, and very few employed in processing. The responses are therefore biased towards those involved in forest management and administrative positions, and away from field-based workers and workers in manufacturing jobs (Figure 2).

This is an image of a graph. Figure 2: Occupation of forestry workers responding to survey. 

Figure 2: Occupation of forestry workers responding to survey

General characteristics of respondents were as follows:

  • Gender: 78% male and 22% female for Tasmania, while for overall respondents 70% were male and 30% female;
  • Average age: 39.5 years for Tasmanian respondents and 39 years for all respondents;
  • Average length of time working in the industry: 17.7 years for Tasmanian respondents, and 13.3 years for all respondents; and
  • Respondents worked in all sectors of the forest industry, including both the native forest and plantation sectors.

While the survey was reasonably small, the responses received enable testing of some key recommended indicators; the results are discussed as individual indicators are reported. They should be considered biased towards people working in particular jobs in the industry, and not representative of all types of forest industry workers.

1 Throughout this report, this region is referred to as ‘north east Tasmania’. It is equivalent to the ‘Northern’ statistical division as classified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics except that it excludes the LGA of Flinders (Flinders Island); Flinders was excluded as it does not have forestry activity.
2 Local government areas included in the study are shown in yellow. The letters in brackets after each name refer to the type of local government, where ‘C’ refers to ‘City’, and ‘M’ to ‘Municipality’.
3 Ethics approval was gained from the Australian National University Human Research Ethics Committee (‘the Committee’) prior to the release of the survey.
4 Many forestry businesses operate across multiple regions; while the survey was sent principally to those operating in the Green Triangle and Tasmania – the regions examined for this consultancy – companies were encouraged to send the survey to all their workers so responses from these regions could be compared to the broader sample of forestry workers achieved. Some Tasmanian respondents lived in regions other than north east Tasmania, but a large proportion were based within north east Tasmania. North east Tasmania respondents are not separated from others when reporting results, as this would reduce sample size substantially, and no significant differences were identified in responses from different parts of Tasmania.
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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