Manufacturing News

18 timber workers lose jobs, forestry policies blamed

Australian Solar Timbers has laid off 18 workers, with a lack of access to good-quality timber blamed by the company.

The ABC reports that the 97-year-old Kempsey, NSW-based hardwood company claims the situation is due to Boral receiving favourable timber contracts.

“We compete in the same market, we get the worst logs, they get the best logs, we pay the same price,” general secretary Douglas Head told the ABC.

“They get the best lengths, they get the best diameters, they have freight advantages, they have more flexibility to take more or less in a good year or a bad year.”

Head told The Border Mail that he did not blame Boral personally, but rather the system it was operating in, where it had favoured access to certain species such as blackbutt and spotted gum over independent companies.

“Effectively Boral has been given a government created and administered monopolistic advantage with regard to species supplied by Forestry Corporation. This needs to be rectified forthwith to restore equitable competition,” said Head.

He added that the NSW Coalition had had five years to remedy the situation.

Nationals local MP Melinda Pavey blamed the former Labor government, then led by Bob Carr.

“This was a very bad deal done by Bob Carr and the Labor Party in 2003,” Pavey said.

“They committed more supply of timber to companies than was actually available.

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