Australasia's home for timber news and information

Bombala mill upgrade approved for future uptake

The NSW Government has approved a $65 million expansion to the timber mill and pole production facility at Bombala, with the potential to create 110 construction and 23 new ongoing jobs.

Willmott Timbers Pty Ltd has operated the facility on the outskirts of Bombala since 1979. The mill currently employs 89 people. However, Willmott announced this week that they have appointed receivers after struggling financially.

The Department has also approved Willmott’s proposal to expand the existing facility, to increase its softwood log input capacity from 106,000 to 400,000 tonnes a year.

Member for Monaro and Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan, has welcomed the approval and reassured the public that the approved plans will exist for companies looking to take the mill expansion on.

“Now that the plans are approved, they can be taken on by companies looking to take on the mill, following Willmott’s financial issues,” Mr Whan said.

“While this has been a turbulent week for the Bombala Timber Mill, this approval means that the mill is still on the cards for Bombala.

“The approval will be able to be used by either the current, or any future, operator on the land.

“I will be working as local member and Forestry Minister to assist interested companies in taking on the timber mill,” Steve Whan said.

Mr Whan said the facility currently produces sawn timber, and some treated timber products, including treated landscape timber, sleepers and fencing products.

“The proposal involves relocating and or replacing most of the mill’s existing infrastructure over a transition period of about four years.

“It also involves construction of a new mill and timber treatment plant and associated infrastructure such as additional boilers and kilns and a new wastewater management system.”

Minister for Planning Tony Kelly said that the assessment was a complex one involving technical issues such as soil and groundwater contamination and air quality emissions.

“Due to past management issues, there is significant soil and groundwater contamination on the site,” he said.

“The determination has been developed such that appropriate remediation can take place concurrently with the expansion program. This enables the project to proceed at the same time legacy contamination issues are being addressed.

“The project will also require an environment protection licence from the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

“Despite these complex issues, the project was assessed within the NSW Government’s three month timeline benchmark,” Minister Kelly said.

A total of 60 conditions have been placed on the project to:

• Require upgrades requested by the Roads and Traffic Authority, including to upgrade the left turn from the Monara Highway onto Delegate Bombala Rd;

• Also require implementation of a signage and marking plan to manage vehicle movements across Parsonage Creek Bridge;

• Ensure a Dust and Wood Residue Monitoring and Management Plan is prepared and implemented to manage the existing stockpile and future wood residue produced on-site;

• Set standards and performance measures for acceptable environmental performance, including air emission limits;

• Provide for regular monitoring and reporting.

The proposal was approved under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.