Our history and industries
First Super was founded when three industry super funds merged in July 2008: the Furniture Industry Retirement Superannuation Trust, the Pulp & Paper Workers’ Superannuation Fund, and the Timber Industry Super Scheme.
We are proud of this heritage, and our products and services are designed to meet the needs of our members, employers and communities within these industries.
Furniture and Joinery
Cabinetmakers, upholsterers and joiners first came to Australia in the 18th century when Captain Arthur Philip led the First Fleet here in 1788. In those times of course there was no superannuation, and probably not much in the way of a fair wage. Equally there was little in the way of competition for the goods and services that cabinetmakers, upholsterers and joiners offered for sale.
These days, increasing competition from imports and the high Australian dollar are major challenges for the furnishing, cabinet-making and joinery industries that have developed over the past 200 years. Despite these challenges, the industries contribute a consolidated gross value of $29.7 billion to the Australian economy.
More than 100,000 Australian workers are employed directly in the furnishing, cabinet-making and joinery industries. Thousands of additional jobs in upstream and downstream industries also depend on these industries. This makes the combined industries one of Australia’s largest manufacturing sectors.
Pulp and Paper
From its earliest days more than 170 years ago to today’s modern, high-tech, efficient and sustainable operations, Australia’s pulp and paper industry has been a major part of Australian manufacturing.
In addition to supplying Australian businesses and families with printing and writing papers, packaging papers, boards and tissue products that every household uses every day, the pulp and paper sector is also a major innovator. Increasingly, it delivers renewable energy and bio-processing that unlocks the full potential of Australia’s natural resources.
Pulp and paper manufacturing is a vital part of the forest and wood products industry supply chain. It provides demand that drives the expansion of the plantation forestry estate.
Across major regional centres and capital cities, major pulp and paper mills and the businesses that support them employ more than 20,000 Australians, across a range of occupations.
Australia imports more than $2 billion of paper products every year, so there are real opportunities for further expansion of the domestic industry, both in pulping and paper-making.
The pulp and paper sector commenced providing superannuation for its workers in 1975, fifteen years before superannuation was generally made available to Australian workers.
First Super is the proud successor to the trail-blazing Pulp & Paper Workers Super Fund, the first industry fund to be established.
Australia’s sustainable forestry and forest products industry is a mainstay of the Australian economy and provides the economic foundation for many of Australia’s regional communities.
The Nation’s second largest manufacturing industry, forest and wood products are an essential part of the Australian built environment. In fact, the average Australian home has around 9 cubic metres of wood in it – the only major renewable resource used in construction.
As well as supplying timber for solid wood, plywood and other building products, the industry also supplies the raw material that goes into wooden furniture and the raw fibre that is made into pulp and paper to meet our community’s needs.
Most of Australia’s wood supply comes from the more than two million hectares of plantation forests that have been purpose grown in key regions, and from our publicly owned native forests.
Australia’s forests are managed sustainably and to the highest environmental standards. Less than 0.1% of Australia’s forests are harvested each year.
Australia’s forestry and forest products industry makes a significant contribution to offsetting the impacts of climate change, producing wood products that continue to store carbon while regenerating harvested areas with new trees that will take more carbon from the atmosphere.