ASH CEO overwhelmed at community support
VINCE HURLEY, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) Chief Executive Officer, has been overwhelmed at the level of support to retain operations at its Heyfield mill.
“As the CEO of ASH it has been frustrating not being able to plan for the long term and I was shocked when told how little logs VicForests was prepared to provide us in the coming three years.
“A little over six months ago I was informed by VicForests that they had sufficient supply of suitable sawlogs available for 10 to 15 years. I have been in this industry for over 30 years and for VicForests to turn around and say the best they can do is less than half of our current contracted volume over three years, just six months later, doesn’t make any sense at all.
“The fact is that the commercial size of our operation simply does not work with half the contracted volume,” he said.
“I am proud of the mill, the staff and the community and I do hope that a solution is found in the next four weeks.
“Our Directors will meet in early March to consider any new commercial offers of supply that may become available from the Government.
“I know the Government is discussing changing the supply from larger regrowth timber to smaller regrowth
“I hope the Government comes good on its promise to resolve this crisis”
timber and eventually to plantation.
“Should this be feasible, it will mean a fundamental and costly change will be required to the business.
“I do hope the Government comes good on its promise to resolve this crisis,” he said.
The strongly attended public meeting in Heyfield unanimously passed a motion calling on the Premier to keep his word when he said he would fight for every job.
“I supported that motion and I, like everyone else who works at ASH, plus all of our customers and suppliers, will be holding our breath to see if Mr Andrews does keep his word. We would all like to keep our jobs,” Mr Hurley said.
The motion moved from the floor and unanimously supported was:
We call on Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria, to keep his word that he will fight for every job so that:
• It’s 250 staff will keep their jobs
• The town of Heyfield and the surrounding areas, businesses and communities have a future
• The thousands of businesses that rely on ASH’s products will also have a future
• Australian made high quality hardwood timber products from Australian grown, environmentally sustainable and commercially managed regrowth forests, are not replaced by imported products
• Over 7,000 jobs and families in Victoria that rely on the flow on effects of ASH will be saved.