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Stanton, Richard Roger (1965–2015)

by Sonia Stanton, Mark Parsons, Miles Prosser, Hans Drielsma and Peter Juniper

from Forester

Richard Stanton, n.d.

Richard Stanton, n.d.

Our colleague and friend Richard Stanton has died tragically as a result of a fall from a bicycle early Thursday morning, 29 January, aged only 49.

Having grown up in Armidale, northern New South Wales, Richard came to Canberra in 1985 to study forestry at ANU. He arrived known as Roger, because previously he went by his second name to avoid confusion with his father, who is also Richard.

Living on the ANU campus at Bruce Hall, Roger was noted for dressing a little more sharply than the other forestry students. Whether that reflected more on their shabby standards than on him, it earned him the nick-name ‘Mr Immaculate’. In contrast, when he changed from using the name Roger back to his first name the sceptics dubbed him ‘Dodgy’!

In the words of one of his forestry school lecturers, Richard was ‘an exemplary student, intelligent, resourceful, always courteous and well behaved, and well liked and respected by all’. Despite this high praise, his fellow students report that he indulged in the usual undergraduate frivolities, but always knew where to draw the line and was always careful enough to not be caught. They also report that his intellectual capacity, writing and speaking skills, and reliability were much in demand by other students in the group work often required in a forestry course.

After a few years working in eucalypt plantation research, the above attributes led Richard to a career in policy and management, notably as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of State Forests of New South Wales and later in senior roles and as CEO of forestry and forest products industry organisations including: the National Association of Forest Industries; Plantation Timber Association of Australia (PTAA); Australian Paper Industry Council (APIC); and the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council (A3P).

In these various roles Richard worked on: the regulation of timber preservatives and registration of chemicals used in forestry; promotion of plantation expansion through the government/industry strategy ‘Plantations for Australia – the 2020 Vision’; quarantine and plant health issues; greenhouse and renewable energy; taxation; infrastructure; and genetic modification. His work in these areas showed Richard was a great communicator, facilitator, listener and negotiator. His incisive intellect, and his ability to think and communicate clearly and strategically, were ideal attributes for this role.

Richard continued much of this work in A3P upon the merger of PTAA and APIC, as Senior Policy Manager. The new role had more of an advocacy flavour and was expanded to include, among other things; climate change and emissions trading; forest management certification; water allocation and management; bio-security; taxation; and investment. The carbon tax, Murray Darling Basin water resources, and parliamentary inquiries into the forest industry were major issues at that time. On the resignation of A3P’s first CEO Richard took over the reins and proved yet again, as would be expected, a highly regarded and capable manager. He had an excellent knowledge of the industry and the critical issues affecting its success, leading by example and consolidating the reputation of the association and the industry in the eyes of both government and the community.

Having successfully facilitated the merger of A3P and NAFI into the new AFPA, he was headhunted for the role of CEO and National Secretary for the Australian Forestry Standard, and was therefore responsible for managing the certification scheme that promotes responsible management of Australia’s native and plantation forests and use of wood products from sustainably managed forests. He was responsible for establishing AFS on a secure footing with strong sector support, and successfully steered through the challenging processes of accreditation, standards review and international endorsement of the Australian Forestry Standard and its recent adoption as New Zealand’s National Forestry Standard.

As part of Richard’s role with the Australian Forestry Standard he was an active participant in PEFC International, an organisation devoted to facilitating the sustainable management of forests globally. Richard contributed to many meetings and policy discussions and achieved a high level of respect and affection around the world. The high esteem in which he was held is shown by condolences from PEFC colleagues in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and the Pacific.

A natural athlete, Richard competed in triathlons and is one of only 15 people to have completed 23 consecutive Sydney Half Marathons and was training for the next one later in 2015. He also loved cycling, riding around Canberra with a group each week and going further afield whenever he could get away.

Richard was a man with strong principles and a generous nature. He was devoted to his wife and family, and fully involved in family affairs, including his girls’ school and sporting activities. As in his professional life he was known for his willingness to roll up his sleeves when help was needed, without fuss. It was therefore not surprising to learn Richard had volunteered as an organ donor, a decision he had fully discussed with his family, and was supported by them. As a result Richard’s untimely death provided hope for a number of people who benefitted from this generous decision.

Richard is survived by his wife Sonia, daughters Emma and Julia, and father Richard.

Original publication

  • Forester, January 2015, p 20

Other Obituaries for Richard Roger Stanton

Citation details

Sonia Stanton, Mark Parsons, Miles Prosser, Hans Drielsma and Peter Juniper, 'Stanton, Richard Roger (1965–2015)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/stanton-richard-roger-19567/text30909, accessed 25 November 2017.

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