Today, Wednesday 14 June 2017, the Hermal Group announced that the Australian Sustainable Hardwood (ASH) Heyfield Timber Mill will commence its closure in August.
Wellington Shire is concerned for the Heyfield community and disappointed that an agreement between the Government and the Hermal Group could not be reached after protracted negotiations.
The mill operators announced earlier this year the supply contract was not sustainable, and if it could not negotiate a better deal the mill would close. Since that announcement, Council has urged the Government to review the hardwood timber supply, particularly in relation to the restrictive protection zones and practices in place for the Leadbeaters possum.
The state government however, has opted to maintain its timber offer and instead negotiate a purchase of the mill. The Hermal Group has now formally rejected the government’s offer and declared imminent closure of the green mill, leaving around 50 workers unemployed with more to follow.
Mayor Carolyn Crossley says, “Council is devastated by this announcement. ASH is Heyfield’s largest employer, with more than 250 workers and countless others in the community who will also be impacted. It is incredibly disappointing this issue has not been resolved.
“While Council has not been party to the details of the negotiations, we simply urge the Government and Hermal to get back to the table and continue to negotiate in good faith. We will continue to work closely with the government to keep the mill open and maintain jobs. Council will provide people with necessary support and assistance during this difficult time”.