|Boyer’s Rod Bender, left, with Simon Crean and Dick Adams.|
FEDERAL MPs and Premier Lara Giddings were among a group of prominent visitors at Norske Skog’s Boyer mill late last week. The visit followed the recent announcement of an investment partnership between the paper manufacturer and the Federal and State governments. In the official party along with the premier were Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean MHR and the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams MHR.The $84 million project, with funding from mill owner Norske Skog ($43 million) and the Federal Government ($28 million) along with a $13 million loan from the State Government, will diversify the 70-year-old mill’s production, creating the capability to produce 140,000 tonnes of magazine-grade coated paper each year.
Mr Crean investment would secure 330 direct jobs, 900 indirect jobs and create a further 100 jobs in the construction phase, as well as ensuring Tasmania’s forestry industry could continue to diversify. “There is broad support for the paper machine conversion at Boyer Mill, which will further diversify production and realign the mill’s output with demand in the Australian paper market,” Mr Crean said. “The ramifications for not supporting this project could have been dire given the mill supports over 1200 jobs and injects $140 million into the local economy each year.
“Norske Skog’s move into coated paper will reduce Australia’s current 100 per cent reliance on imported coated papers, providing security of supply and protection from fluctuations in the Australian dollar for Australian users of coated paper. There will be strict conditions on Australian Government funding to ensure jobs are protected and that the mill can deliver on diversifying and providing a product that will ensure its operation for years to come,” Mr Crean said.
Ms Giddings said the investment partnership was fantastic news for Tasmania and the people of New Norfolk who relied on the operation for jobs and economic activity. “It is a clear sign of confidence in the future of the Tasmanian economy, the broader community and our forest industry, which is a major supplier to the Boyer Mill,” Ms Giddings said.
“Norske Skog has given a commitment to source Tasmanian suppliers and local employment for the redevelopment in order to further support the local economy. The upgrade will allow the mill to satisfy the growing market demand for catalogue grade paper. By moving with the times we can be confident the mill will have a long future.
Mr Adams said the funding would be provided to the project in the 2013-14 financial year. “The project will secure and create local jobs and will build certainty and confidence for other investments in the region,” he said. “It will also allow the Derwent Valley to start to recover from the huge impact the downturn of the forest industry has had on the area.”
|Premier Lara Giddings with Norske Skog’s Andrew Leighton, and Simon Crean MHR|