The tiny town of Nannup is the latest to feel the brunt of the State’s tumbling timber industry, with the Nannup timber mill officially closing its doors yesterday. More than 50 locals — who were told of the 98-year-old mill’s imminent closure before December 25 — spent their Christmas holidays worrying over their financial stability and future in the small regional town. It comes not even a year after the closure of the timber giant’s Greenbushes mill on May 13, when more than 50 local employees were stood down. Shadow forestry minister Steve Martin said the closure — which was not originally supposed to happen until December — was a direct result of the Labor Government’s decision to ban hardwood harvesting in WA. “This is a direct consequence of the Labor Government’s short-sighted policy decision and complete lack of consultation with industry,” he said. “Labor are knowingly destroying a sustainable industry that has supported small communities in WA for well over a century.” Mr Martin said the closure of Nannup mill was devastating for employees, the community and the businesses that had supported the timber industry for decades. “This comes as another massive blow to timber workers in Nannup and around the State,” he said. “We know that over the Christmas period at least 50 families have been forced to consider their future and if they will stay in town. “Some of these workers have worked at the mill for nearly 50 years and their families have worked there for generations. “What we are going to see is a massive loss of skills that won’t ever be replaced. “We can expect to see more mill closures and job losses before the end of the year thanks to the Labor Government.” Parkside bought the site in December 2019 and invested $10 million in facility upgrades into the processing facilities at both Nannup and Greenbushes. The Queensland-based timber company’s investment was said to create more than 50 jobs across Nannup, Greenbushes and Manjimup. Parkside’s other remaining presence in WA is at its specialist processing centre in Manjimup, which has been operational since November 2021. Parkside Group general manager Peter Tapiolas told the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times in December last year when rumours arose of the mill’s closure that while an entire closure of the mill was not imminent, the company would inevitably have to scale back operation due to the State Government’s native timber logging ban. “(We) can’t control the outcome with Nannup,” he said. Mr Tapiolas said Parkside Milling was reliant on the State Government’s policy decisions to determine the scale of its continued operations. “We will be reducing operations to meet with demands and volume,” he said. Mr Tapiolas said the rumours behind the mill’s closure were likely to do with staff reductions and reshuffling but they were only in the “early stages” of closure discussions, which were largely influenced by the native logging ban. He said there was still a significant volume of timber still on site to be processed and stock still coming through, but with the mill closing earlier than anticipated, it seems the stock has dried up. The Nannup timber mill — which was originally built in 1925 but burnt down in 1954, leaving only the chimney behind — is now listed as a heritage site due to its significance to the history of the timber industry in the South West and settlement of the region.