Following the shock announcement from Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) regarding the Timber Mill in Heyfield on Wednesday, 18 January, Wellington Shire Mayor, Carolyn Crossley was immediately in contact with Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria, Vincent Hurley, CEO of ASH and Senior Government Advisors to obtain further information.
Mayor Crossley says, “I can reassure the Heyfield community that Council is doing everything we can to support ASH to remain open and maintain jobs."
The Mayor, Cr Malcolm Hole and CEO David Morcom have also met with Clinton Tilley, CEO of The Hermal Group and owners of ASH. Mr Tilley reiterated the point that supply was inadequate for them to run the Mill viably and they would be informing their workforce of a possible closure in September 2017.
Since the announcement, Council have also held meetings with parliamentary representatives and, government departments and agencies to discuss a way to bring the relevant parties together to resolve the issue of access to a sustainable amount of cubic metres of timber through Vic Forest for the Mill to continue to operate competitively in this global market.
Mayor Crossley says, “Council are continuing to seek information from all sides of this issue to seek a positive resolution. There are indications that the Government is very keen to meet with the Mill operators to map a path forward.
“Following the announcement of the closure of Hazelwood Power Station and its ongoing impacts across the region, Council is very concerned about the impacts of this announcement on the workers at the Mill, the Heyfield community, the Gippsland region and beyond,” the Mayor concludes.
Council will continue to meet and discuss this matter with the owners, industry, parliamentary representatives and, government departments and agencies at all levels until a positive and satisfactory outcome has been achieved.