Heyfield timber mill: Time to face forest facts

THE people of the Latrobe Valley are right to be dismayed by the looming fate of the Australian Sustainable Hardwoods mill at Heyfield.

Gippsland has long been the centre of the hardwood timber industry in Victoria, and the hardwood timber industry has long played a major part in Gippsland’s development and in its prosperity.

The jobs that the ASH mill and the value-added downstream industries provide are a huge asset in farming communities subject to the vagaries of world markets and of the weather.

The closure of Hazelwood makes such jobs even more valuable.

So every avenue must be explored to save jobs as the State Government has clearly been endeavouring to do. However as Matt Ruchel of the Forest Industry Taskforce has said, Victoria’s ash forests — the predominant source of timber for sawmilling — are no magic pudding.

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