The CEO of peak industry body Timber Queensland has blamed the Queensland Government for failing to provide adequate support for flood-hit businesses in the state.
Timber Queensland CEO Rod McInnes said the Queensland Government must provide immediate short term financial support ‘to help small businesses help themselves’.
“People are crying out for help to avoid further social and economic upheaval and they aren’t getting answers,” said Rod McInnes.
Major job losses are imminent with flood affected businesses in South-West Queensland poised to close after being largely ignored by Government, according to Mr McInnes.
“They must provide immediate short term financial support to help small businesses help themselves,” he said.
Mr McInnes said already struggling businesses now face ruin.
“Take the case of family owned sawmiller, N.K. Collins Industries.
“They have five mills in South West Queensland providing Cypress Pine to domestic and international markets.
“The GFC and local building slump has reduced their market demand by more than 50 per cent.
“Just when some local orders turn up so does the rain and flooding cuts roads, shuts forests and generally makes life difficult for business owners and employees alike.”
Four of N.K Collins’ five mills have been closed.
With one mill in Mungalala functioning, N.K Collins have been transporting employees 40 kilometres from Mitchell to Mungalala on a daily basis.
Adding to the struggling companies woes and trucking the from Tambo, 450km away, where flooding has been of lesser impact.
“This costly, logistical dance is a grave attempt to generate some cash flow to keep the business afloat, no pun intended,” Mr McInnes said.
N.K. Collins sought some financial assistance to meet at least some of these additional logistical costs until other mills are usable and flooding has subsided, according to Mr McInnes.
“Even the QRAA Grant of $25,000 that could help the business keep going has been refused – too many employees and not enough damage – apparently.”
“The likely outcome of this will be permanent mill closures, significant job losses -up to 100 and a 65 year old business gone to the wall. And others will likely follow. No wonder Australian industry is in such dire straits.”
N.K Collins employed 220 people four years ago.
The company now employs around 80 workers,
less than half that figure.
The Queensland Government did not respond in time for publication of this article.