75 to lose jobs as Shoalhaven paper mill closes

The
struggling Australian Paper mill at Shoalhaven will close this year, workers
were informed yesterday.

The Illawarra Mercury reports that the 56-year-old mill would be wound down and 75
jobs would be lost.

“We
hoped the finishing end would keep going but we have learned this is not the
case and the company will close the operation,” the CFMEU’s Jack Evans told The
Mercury.

“We
expect the machine floor to close first, then the finishing end and then yard
gangs.”

Craig Dunn,
a spokesman for Australian Paper, said that decreased demand had been sustained
and significant, and that the company had been running at a loss for several
years.

“We’ve
really left no stone unturned and we’ve certainly looked at costs all of our
inputs and also tried to look at new market positions and opportunities for the
plant but we’ve really reached the end of that process now,” Dunn told the ABC.

“The
markets have just become too small for the operation to continue.”

The South Coast Register said the business, which had been hurt by the persistently strong
Australia dollar in recent years, would be missed as a local employer.

“[I]t will
not just be the 75 workers who lose their jobs,” the editorial comments reads. “It
is expected additional jobs will vanish as the local economy takes a $20
million hit.”

The
factory is reportedly the country’s only maker of specialised, security-grade paper used in passports.

The firm, owned by Japan’s Nippon Paper, also operates a mill at Maryvale in Victoria.

To read the company’s statement about the closure, click here.

Image: David Tease/Fairfax