Shoalhaven Paper Mill, 75 jobs in danger of being lost

The future of Australia’s only
manufacturer of security grade passport paper is in doubt.

Bomaderry’s Shoalhaven Paper Mill, owned by Japan’s Nippon Paper
Group, has been dealing with tough times for several years, manager Robert Borchardt told the ABC.

“If
the government doesn’t get behind this and start using Australian paper and our
specialised grades, then yeah, there’s a real threat of us closing,” he
commented.

Earlier
this year the Gilmore federal MP, Liberal Ann Sudmalis, pledged to only use paper from the mill for her office.

“Their
security papers and their watermark papers are their absolute strength and if
we lose that technology, I think that would be tragic,” she said in June.

The
mill has requested that government buy more of its products, all of the plant’s
20,000 tonne annual output. According to Fairfax, the government’s entire paper
supply is about 60,000 tonnes a year.

There
are fears that forgery of Australian documents could be made easier if the mill
closes and the government is forced to buy paper such as that used in passports
from outside Australia.

There
is only one machine running at the plant, according to the CFMEU’s Jack Evans,
and the immediate effect of this shutting down would be 30 jobs lost and the rest
(numbering about 45) unlikely to be viable beyond next year.

“It
would be a process that would take somewhere between six and nine months we’re
told to shut down the whole paper machine,” Evans told the ABC.

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