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Sawmills drowning in waste wood
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Growing mountains of waste wood are said to be threatening the future of several sawmills in southern Tasmania. Many have started to run out of room to store thousands of tonnes of residue, which has been piling up since the closure of the Triabunna woodchip mill last year. Source: ABC News
Dunalley sawmiller, Ike Kelly, says the absence of a woodchip exporter in the south has reduced his income by a third and he fears some businesses will have to close if a solution is not found urgently.
"There are two mills down the Huon that have 2000 or 3000 tonne between them and it's just sitting there," he said. "It is a real crisis at present."
Robert Torenius says the storage area behind his Forcett sawmill is full.
"We're looking at perhaps going further down into the bush and stacking it in the bush, so we have got to look for more area."
Mr Kelly has accused MPs from both sides of politics of failing to help find a long-term solution to the waste wood crisis.
"None of them are actually saying anything about the industry."
"They're playing politics with an industry that revolves around millions of dollars and doing nothing to solve the problems."
Closing the Tiabunna woodchip mill has had an adverse affect on the local community as well as the sawmillers.
The community is appealing for help to revive the town's economy. Four businesses have closed in the past few months and some now open for only a few hours a day.
Triabunna resident Trish Bluett said her husband, who is a log truck driver, has been forced to work interstate with a fly-in, fly-out operation and only returns home for six days every month.
She said about 30 other families are in the same position because of the downturn in the forestry sector.
Opposition leader Will Hodgman said the forestry peace deal being negotiated between environmentalists and industry stakeholders is to blame.