By Paul Hemsley
The town of Myrtleford will receive an economic boost from a cooperation between local and state government investing in a $50 million plywood mill.
Alpine Shire Council worked with Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts (CHH) on the project due to the threat of closure.
Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva said the transformation of the old sawmill into a plywood mill by CHH was a “major investment” in the timer industry’s future securing 160 jobs in the north-east region.
“CHH’s investment in the Myrtleford mill is the single largest capital investment in the industry for around 20 years and reflects strong confidence in Victorian engineered wood and timber sectors,” Mr Dalla-Riva said.
According to Mr Dalla-Riva, the plywood mill uses equipment and technology operating in an “environmentally sustainable way”.
Mr Dalla-Riva said this investment will help stimulate economic growth with an “estimated injection of some $30 million per annum into the local economy”.
According to Alpine Shire Council Manager of Planning and Environment Heather Green, the council worked closely with CHH in a liaison role.
“That was in the early stages and when they decided to expand, we worked closely with them through the planning permit process and that involved a lot of negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency, so we helped coordinate some of those discussions,” Ms Green said.
Ms Green said Myrtleford is a small town where CHH is the major employer and its closing would have been “astronomical”.
“By doing this expansion, they’ve given it a 20 year commitment and it just means security of employment for 200 people, which in a town of only three and a half thousand is significant,” Ms Green said.
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