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Downturn knocks sawmiller

Four people have been forced into redundancies and 12 others have been offered voluntary packages at the Mary Valley’s Hyne and Sons operations, including the Imbil mill (pictured).
Four people have been forced into redundancies and 12 others have been offered voluntary packages at the Mary Valley’s Hyne and Sons operations, including the Imbil mill (pictured). Craig Warhurst

THE high Australian dollar, combined with present economic conditions and the depressed housing market, has impacted severely on Hyne and Sons sawmill operations in the Mary Valley.

Sixteen workers have already lost their jobs.

Joint chief executive of manufacturing at Hyne and Sons, Chris Robertson, said the timber industry was facing difficult times and to combat this, the company had restructured its operations.

The mills had reduced throughput by 10-15% and was now believed to be in a better position to weather the economic conditions and develop the business when things improved.

"We've had to engineer the business to move away from exports and focus on the domestic market," Mr Robertson said.

"We've been forced to reduce costs. It's an unfortunate situation I think a lot of manufacturers are facing."

Significant cuts had been made to staff numbers across management and administration as well as from wage employees. There had been four forced and 12 voluntary redundancies, he said.

"Manufacturing is a really tough industry to be in at the moment. Not only the exports are down, but we are competing with a huge amount of cheap imports.

"It's sort of like the perfect storm for the timber industry.

"It's tough to export with the higher exchange rate.

"We are being bombarded with cheaper imports and the housing market in Queensland is at historically low levels.

"Because we are copping it on all fronts, we've had to reduce activities at the mills to obtain a more sustainable footprint to match the current economic conditions and go forward."

Topics:  housing market mary valley

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