New timber mill for NW Tasmania

Construction of Ta Ann’s new plywood mill in Tasmania’s
north-west began after a ceremonial sod-turning on Monday.

The Advocate reports that ceremony at the new construction
site in Smithton was attended by politicians including Premier Will Hodgman (pictured),
Senator Richard Colbeck, state Braddon MHR’s Joan Rylah and Roger Jaensch,
Federal Liberal member for Braddon Brett Whiteley and Independent MLC for
Murchison Ruth Forrest.

The project received $7.5 million in federal funding as part
of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, which is soon to be axed.

According to the ABC, speaking at the ceremony, Mr Hodgman
said the project was a boost for the state’s timber industry.

“[There are] new opportunities for an industry that has
suffered under a Labor-Green government,” he said.

According to Mr Whiteley, during the construction phase of
the mill, 90 jobs will be created and, once fully operational the mill will
employ 120 people.

“Within two years it is expected production of this facility
will reach 64,000 cubic feet a day of plywood, resulting in an increase in
company’s sales of $60.2 million,” he said.

As ever, logging in Tasmania is a contentious subject. There
are government plans to re-classify some currently-protected native forests for
logging.

However, Ta Ann’s Greg Hickey told the ABC his company is
not interested in timber from these areas because customers don’t want to buy
it.

“We won’t be
accepting wood from any of those areas,” he said.

Image: www.premier.tas.gov.au