WA sawmills devastated by Government decision

Friday 1 Oct 2021

Parkside Group entered the Western Australian timber industry in late 2019 by purchasing the sawmilling assets from Brickworks. If Parkside Group did not proceed with the purchase, then Brickworks were going to make all remaining employees redundant and close the businesses.

Since acquiring the business, Parkside Group have invested AU$54.4 million to date and employed over 160 employees to re-establish Greenbushes as a specialist Karri sawmill and Nannup as a specialist Jarrah sawmill. The Manjimup site has been rebuilt as a specialist processing centre with AU$12 million invested since January 2021 in the latest technology in the world and will be operational in 4 weeks’ time.

Over the last two years, the Parkside Group have been encouraged by the Premier, Minister and local Mayors to continue development of the business into a world-class milling centre. The Parkside Board subsequently approved additional capital improvements to the WA businesses which would see a total investment of AU$103.2 million with a requested contribution of AU$25.8 million from the WA Government.

The outcome would mean 720 full time jobs in WA and an internationally competitive business in south west WA supporting local communities. Parkside Group understands the need to protect bio-diversity and ecological values of the forests. Parkside Group was attracted to invest in the Western Australian timber industry due to the world class sustainable logging practices adopted by the Western Australian Government.

The announcement by the Minister on the 8th September 2021 regarding the closure of Native Forest Harvesting in 2024 came as a complete surprise to Parkside Group, and it is extremely disappointing to Parkside Group, our employees and contractors. Parkside Group will continue operating business as usual as we await further details from the WA Government. The announcement has devastated the Parkside Group employees and the communities we work in.

Robert Tapiolas, Director, Parkside Group

Another timber company in Western Australia’s south is also concerned. Redmond Sawmill, north of Albany, has been processing hardwood timber of jarrah and karri for over twenty years to local, national, and overseas customers. Their most recent AU$5 million upgrade to its mill in late 2019 has left the company in major financial difficulty following the government's snap decision to ban hardwood logging. Managing director Corey Matters, who took over the business in 2015, said the upgrade will cost the business significant capital loss. "We will not get to see the benefit of that investment, if we have to pack up; it's going to be a AU$10-12 million capital loss for sure," he said. "We had no idea this ban was coming." More >>

Source: Parkside Group, ABC

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