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Australian Paper’s community spirit

Peter Williams COO of Australian Paper

On 25 March 2018 Australian Paper at Maryvale, near Morwell opened up to the public the first time for several years. Source: Timberbiz

Peter Williams, the company’s Chief Operating Officer was there but in a new role, tour guide for Bus trip 13 on its trip around the facilities. Bus 13 was one of 60 bus tours scheduled for the day with visitor numbers expected to be around 5000.

Initially the day was bleak with showers and it cast a pall over the amount of people who would attend but by the time Bus 13 came back to the ‘fair ground’ area the sun was shining brightly.

Sunday 25 March was also a celebration for 80 years of pulp and paper production at the Maryvale Mill.

“It’s anniversary time so that’s important, the 80th anniversary was important so it’s a good time to do it (the open day event),” said Mr Williams. “We haven’t had one for three or four years but prior to that we used to have them every three years. It was due.

“People (within the organization) were saying isn’t it about time we had another one. It’s good particularly for the workers at the mill and their families, they don’t get the opportunity to come through that often.”

The event is big, and it’s quite a thing to put on with security, buses, events, displays, traffic management and much more behind the scenes.

Bus tours skirted the outside of the huge site just outside of Morwell, then with safety glasses perched on everyone’s nose and high vis vests people were ushered through several parts of the facility from paper making to cutting and boxing for retail use.

Throughout the manufacturing facility and in the ‘fair ground’ area hundreds of volunteers from Australian Paper happily shepherded the crowds and answered any and all questions.

“Everyone’s volunteering today so no one gets paid to be here,” Mr Williams said. “it’s a big commitment and there’s a fair few people in the organizing committee who put in enormous amount of effort.”

Outside companies such as suppliers and partners also put up displays – they wanted to be there too.

Families, retirees, young singles and middle aged people all flocked in from the local Gippsland area as well as further afield.

The event had something for everyone, most importantly it was a sign that Australian Paper wanted to connect strongly again with its community.