Stakeholder Update - Heyfield mill announcement
Heyfield mill announcement
You may be aware of media reports this afternoon indicating that Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) will close its mill in Heyfield by September 2018.
This follows confirmation earlier today that ASH and the State Government have been unable to agree to terms over future timber supply following a final offer made to the owners of the mill by the Government this week.
We share the concerns that have been raised over the potential impact on jobs and the town of Heyfield as a result of the reduction in timber available to the mill.
Changes to supply levels affect not only workers but their families and the communities they live in, and these decisions are never taken without consideration of the impacts they will have.
The timber supply offered to the Heyfield mill is at a level we believe can be sustainably produced from the available forest also taking into consideration the existing contracts we have with our other customers.
Since VicForests initial discussions with ASH, detailed reviews of our resource modelling by external experts have shown that these volumes are in line with the timber resources available to us.
The wood that has been offered to ASH is some of the highest quality hardwood anywhere in the world and we understand that the Government is considering different options available to keep the mill open including helping to facilitate a sale to a new owner.
We hope that any future sale of this timber would also provide employment opportunities for workers currently at Heyfield.
While there are clearly important discussions which still need to take place in relation to the future of the Heyfield mill, we are confident there will be strong interest in the timber available if not from the current owners of the mill then from other parts of the industry.
We would like to once again reassure contractors and customers that we will continue to meet all of our contractual obligations.
There remains high demand for locally grown, hardwood timber and VicForests will be working to ensure we can meet as much of this demand as possible from sustainable harvesting operations.
VicForests Acting CEO