Mill move creates Greenbushes jobs

Karen HuntManjimup-Bridgetown Times

AUSWEST will shed staff as it closes its Manjimup and Pemberton operations but is looking to hire an additional 20 workers at Greenbushes.

Its leaner, consolidated sawmilling operation at Greenbushes will be the biggest hardwood manufacturing facility in WA, Auswest State manager Mike Epp said.

Milling big and small karri, jarrah and marri logs in one place would make the company more efficient, Mr Epp said on Monday.

“You don’t have four sets of overheads under one roof,” he said.

“It’s always been a tough thing for everybody in this industry, the lack of scale.”

Following Deanmill’s closure earlier this year, the Manjimup Processing Centre will shut down on December 15, with Pemberton Sawmill to close on December 22.

About 40 employees took a voluntary redundancy package out of a combined workforce of 104 at Manjimup and Pemberton, Mr Epp said.

“There are 51 all up that have been retained or transferred.

“There will be a shortfall of about 20, when all is said and done, down at Greenbushes.

“We’re actively looking right now and accepting CVs from folks.”

The company will employ a total of 120 people at Greenbushes from 2017, including the 20 full-time workers yet to be hired.

Auswest will run a bus from Pemberton to Greenbushes each day for transferring employees.

“It’s hard to get the skills that you need in a rural setting so we’ve had to do what we can to retain employment in the region.”

Mr Epp praised workers for their commitment and cooperation during a transition which would create long term viability.

“It’s unfortunate but we had to make a business decision – the alternative would have been fairly ugly.”

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