New owner to tap into overseas markets

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Parkside Group direct Robert Tapiolas and State Forestry Minister Dave Kelly.
Camera IconParkside Group direct Robert Tapiolas and State Forestry Minister Dave Kelly. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Jobs in the Lower South West forestry industry are expected to grow by more than 100 per cent over the next few years with the purchase of Nannup Timber Processing by Queensland-based company Parkside.

The company has also purchased Auswest, with assets in Greenbushes, Manjimup, Deanmill and Pemberton, in October.

There are about 70 people employed across the Greenbushes and Nannup mills, which is expected to grow to about 150 over the next several years, in addition to the planned reopening of the Manjimup timber processing site.

“We’ve got a significant employment growth planned over the next couple of years,” Parkside Group director Robert Tapiolas said in Greenbushes yesterday.

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“We’re looking to move to Manjimup mid next year and have a recruitment drive in about June, we’re looking to employ dozens.”

Mr Tapiolas said Parkside planned a $10 million development of the sites over the next few years.

“The two resources, the karri and the jarrah, are in our estimation, the best resources in Australia,” he said.

“It’s a great honour to be able to process this wood.”

He said Parkside believed old growth and big trees should be left alone.

State Forestry Minister Dave Kelly met with Mr Tapiolas at the Greenbushes mill yesterday for the announcement.

Mr Kelly said the purchase was a great vote of confidence in the South West forestry industry.

“This is fabulous news not only for the people of Nannup but the whole of the South West to have a well-respected company such as Parkside invest in purchasing two of the significant mills in the South West,” he said.

“Purchasing Auswest here and now the Nannup Mill, not only does it guarantee the jobs that area already has in place at these mills, Parkside has significant plans for growth.”

Mr Tapiolas said the Greenbushes mill would process karri and the Nannup mill would process jarrah. “They’re two different woods and they need to be treated differently for different products,” he said.

In creating high-value products, Mr Tapiolas said the aim was to use the timber for furniture, joinery, flooring, decking and export overseas in Asian, UK and US markets.

Mr Tapiolas said Parkside had initial plans for the Deanmill mill site and the Pemberton mill site was still a work in progress.

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