Following last week’s disappointing outcome that the State Government and ASH could not reach an agreement on timber supply for the Heyfield Mill, and the subsequent announcement by ASH to close the mill in 2018, Wellington Shire Council has continued to work towards achieving a positive resolution so that the 250 immediate jobs and the many more that will be lost by through the knock-on effects, can be saved.
Over the past few days, Mayor Carolyn Crossley and Chief Executive Officer David Morcom have held meetings with the Owner and CEO of ASH, and parliamentary representatives Danny O’Brien Member for Gippsland South, Tim Bull Member for Gippsland East and Melina Bath Member for Eastern Victoria, spoken with Harriet Shing Member for Eastern Victoria at her parliamentary office, spoken with the Premier’s advisor and wrote to the Premier Daniel Andrews requesting a further meeting.
The Mayor and Councillor Malcom Hole also attended the protest march to the steps of Parliament in Melbourne on Tuesday 21 March. The Mayor said that there was a huge turn out and a great show of support from the community.
“It was great to see members of the community demonstrating their democratic right to be heard. The crowd was very well behaved and I was impressed by their show of strength during this very difficult and uncertain time.
“It was very disappointing that the Premier did not make an appearance or address the crowd in any way. But it was great to see opposition representatives, Tim Bull, Melina Bath and Danny O’Brien turning up to show their support.
“On the way into Melbourne from Gippsland and during the march to Parliament House, people were tooting their car horns and shouting words of support.
“Myself and Councillor Hole were extremely proud to be part of this community gathering.
“It is crucial that there is a positive outcome to save this industry and save these jobs for many years to come and we wait in anticipation for a definitive resolution to this matter,” concluded the Mayor.
The ASH issue is also included as an agenda item for discussion at the next meeting of the Gippsland Local Government Network (GLNG) on Friday 24 March 2017.