ASH CEO over­whelmed at com­mu­nity sup­port

Australian Forests and Timber - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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