Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) will today officially commission a new $3 million timber manufacturing plant in Heyfield.
The centrepiece of the new plant at ASH’s Greenmill in Firebrace Road is a high-strain twin band resaw, which uses German sawing technology to maximise the amount of useable timber while minimising sawdust and woodchip waste.
Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester helped to secure $1.2 million from the Federal Government for the project to create new jobs and encourage business investment.
“ASH is a major employer in Gippsland and a vital part of the fabric of the Heyfield community,” Mr Chester said.
“This project has supported 14 jobs during the construction phase and will secure another 140 on-going positions – that’s a significant number of jobs for this area.
“The timber industry is facing difficult times following the bushfires and the State Government’s announcement last November that it would phase out the harvest of native trees over the next ten years.
“In that context, I am proud to say I fully support this environmentally sustainable and economically critical industry, the associated businesses and the many people and towns it supports.”
ASH Managing Director Vince Hurley said the technology used in the new manufacturing plant would mean less waste.
“We will be able to make more timber available for use in staircases, windows, doors and furniture with the same volume of saw logs,” Mr Hurley said.
“The new twin band resaw is more efficient at sawing smaller and lower grade logs than our current equipment, so we can now turn more of our saw logs into usable timber.
“Our business, our town and Gippsland more widely have weathered a number of storms over the past few years. The opening of this new plant is great news for our workforce and a big vote of confidence in Heyfield.”
The Federal Government funding for the project was provided through the $20 million Regional Jobs and Investment Package.