More than 50 locals are looking for a job after the closure of Parkside’s historic Greenbushes Mill, announced yesterday.
Shadow Minister for Forestry, Steve Martin, said the closure is a shock to the local Greenbushes community and evidence of the Government’s failure to properly understand the implications of its plan to close the native hardwood industry.
“This closure is a direct result of the decision to end native forestry and the Government is leaving the hard-working families of Greenbushes, who have served the mill for its 128 years, to pay the price,” Mr Martin said.
“Greenbushes offers a window into the future for many small communities across the South West and without serious policy revisions, the future is very uncertain.”
Parkside purchased the Greenbushes green and dry mill in 2019 with the active praise and encouragement of the State Government.
“Labor are destroying a sustainable industry that has supported small communities in Western Australia for well over a century. The Minister should be ashamed of his actions.
“Parkside were encouraged to invest in the sector just two years ago by Minister Kelly. They have now invested more than $75 million in the Greenbushes Mill, not to mention the jobs and economic stimulus it provides communities across the South West.
“Minister Kelly has broken his promise and instead shut the native forestry industry down.
“We are already experiencing the consequences of Labor’s poorly thought-out decision. There are widespread shortages of firewood, timber used for furniture manufacturing and construction materials.
“To meet the demands of the community, timber will now need to be imported from other countries, rather than grown sustainably in Western Australia.
“When the Labor Government announced the shock end of the native hardwood industry, they committed just $50 million towards the ‘Just Transition’ plan,” Mr Martin said.
“With industry advice, this figure is drastically insufficient to ensure the transition is fair. With today’s closure of the Greenbushes Mill, I call on the Minister to remedy the shortcomings of this package in next week’s State Budget.”
“The industry has lost confidence in the ability of Minister Kelly. He has a long track record of breaking his promises. Western Australian small businesses deserve more from this government,” said Mr Martin.
WA’s forestry industry contributes $1.4 billion to the WA economy each year, with over 90% of jobs located in regional WA.