Manjimup timber mill closure: ‘Support is available now’ says Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis

Melissa PedeltyManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Premier Mark McGowan announced his new cabinet. Pictured - New minister South MLA Jackie Jarvis
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan announced his new cabinet. Pictured - New minister South MLA Jackie Jarvis Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Immediate relief is available for those who have lost their jobs within the timber industry across the South West in the last year as part of the State Government’s $80 million Native Forestry Transition Plan.

The Worker Transition Package — which includes a base payment of $30,000 plus an additional $1,000 per year of service, to a maximum of $15,000 — is available now for workers who have been affected by the mill closures.

More than 100 people have lost their jobs within the timber industry across the South West since the State Government made the decision to end native forest harvesting in September 2021, including 15 recent Manjimup redundancies.

Parkside closed down the Manjimup mill last week, with half of its employees being made redundant as of Friday while the other half will transfer to the re-opened Nannup dry mill — which closed only three weeks ago and left 45 people without work.

The NFTP was brought into effect by the State Government to support affected workers, businesses and regional communities however, shadow forestry minister Steve Martin is calling the State Government to provide immediate relief to forestry industry and communities effected by the recent earlier-than-expected mill closures by bringing forward some of the packages.

Forestry Minister Jackie Jarvis said she appreciated the difficulties faced by workers and their families affected by Parkside’s closure of the Manjimup dry mill.

“I appreciate that it is a difficult time for the workers and their families in Manjimup,” she said.

“Parkside requested that all timber deliveries cease in December 2022, and as a result, Parkside has today announced the effective closure of the Manjimup Dry Mill.”

Ms Jarvis said support was available for those affected by the closures with the Worker Transition Package now available.

“All affected workers will receive a redundancy payment from Parkside as well as a redundancy payment from the State Government through the Workers Transition Program,” she said.

Ms Jarvis said the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation will visit the Manjimup processing facility on Friday to provide information and support for all workers that have been made redundant, while an outreach support session — made up JTSI, South Regional TAFE, the Jobs and Skills Centre, Jobs South West and the Community Resource Centres — will occur next week to assist workers with registering for Workforce Transition Program payments.

Ms Jarvis said round one of Small Business Development and Diversification Grants closed yesterday with approvals processes will now commencing, while Community Development Grants open this month and New Industry Development Grants that will open in the coming months.

Mr Martin said the earlier-than-expected closure of the Manjimup mill is a clear sign that Minister Jarvis needs to bring forward the transition package available to affected employees, businesses and communities.

“The forestry industry is already shutting down and the transition package for workers and communities is lacking in detail and delivery,” he said.

“These communities need the Minister for Forestry to bring forward the support measures in the Native Forestry Transition Plan.”

Mr Martin said Labor failed to consult with industry before making a rash, unscientific decision to ban hardwood harvesting and now have no serious transition plan in place to support local jobs in the South West.

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