Victoria’s largest hardwood saw mill, Heyfield’s Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, will expand its operations with the support of $650,000 in Victorian Coalition Government funding, Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said today.
Mr Ryan said the Australian Sustainable Hardwood Value Adding/Expansion Project would create more than 40 direct and indirect jobs, high-quality timber products and secure Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ (ASH) business against future market changes.
“ASH is well-known for developing a range of high quality manufactured timber products, such as window and door frames, door stiles and flooring – products which have great potential to replace those which are currently imported,” Mr Ryan said.
“However, in order to take advantage of these opportunities, a more efficient and expanded production is required and this is what the project sets out to deliver.”
Mr Ryan said the project would include an extension to the current finger joining and laminating facility, the establishment of a hard stand site, and the purchase of a new horizontal finger joiner and new equipment for the joiner line.
“This project not only presents the company with the opportunity to replace current imported products with locally made products, but provides the opportunity to join the export market, allowing for further growth into the future,” Mr Ryan said.
Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said the expansion would provide significant benefits to the local economy, including the creation of 15 new full-time equivalent jobs, six indirect jobs, 20 construction jobs and the retention of 190 full-time jobs.
“Being the primary recipient of high-quality logs in Gippsland, the ongoing operations at the Heyfield mill is critical to the viability of the forest industry,” Mr Bull said.
Member for Narracan Gary Blackwood said funding for the project was being provided through Regional Development Victoria, including $500,000 from the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund (LVIIF), with ASH to provide the remaining $1.97 million.
“The LVIIF is about creating jobs, leveraging private sector investment, securing existing business operations and benefitting the broader Latrobe Valley community in the transition to a low carbon economy,” Mr Blackwood said.
“The LVIIF falls under the Victorian Coalition Government’s overarching $1 billion Regional Growth Fund which represents our commitment to creating jobs, improving career options, boosting business opportunities and creating a better economy for all regional Victorians.”