Wellington Shire Council continues to meet with the owners, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH), parliamentary representatives, government departments and agencies to pave a way forward for the Heyfield Mill to remain open.
A community meeting is being held at the Heyfield Memorial Hall, McFarlane Street, Heyfield on Wednesday 1 February at 6.30pm.
Mayor Carolyn Crossley is chairing the meeting which will be attended by Vince Hurley, CEO of ASH; Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester; Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing; Member for East Gippsland, Tim Bull, and employee representatives.
“The community meeting at Heyfield is vital in sending the message to the Minister that the Heyfield Mill needs to stay open,” says Mayor Crossley
“The Heyfield Mill is a massive employer in the area and if it closes the economic impact on the area would threaten the viability of the town of Heyfield and the community.
“Council is relieved that there are now discussions occurring between the government and the owners of the Mill in terms of trying to find a way forward. However, we understand that, as yet, the Government hasn’t confirmed that they will find the timber supply needed to ensure the Mill doesn’t close, nor have they committed to assisting ASH transition to plantation timber as a long-term solution.
“The owners of the Mill have confirmed they will hold off on closure for four weeks to give the government time to try and find a solution. Stopping the closure of the Mill is a matter for the Government and Minster Pulford, but we are urging them to work in a constructive and positive manner so that the future of the Mill can be secured. Now that ASH has met with the Minister, Council is also seeking a meeting with her, as well as the Premier, so they are very, very clear what is at stake.”
“The fight to keep the workers at Heyfield Mill in a job is far from over,” Mayor Crossley concluded.
This public meeting is an opportunity for members of the public to hear first-hand about what has been discussed in recent meetings and the next steps that are being taken to help secure the future of the Heyfield Timber Mill, its workers and the Heyfield community.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend and show their support for the timber industry.