Shoalhaven's paper mill to close without federal government support

Shoalhaven paper mill worker Jack Evans is hopeful the federal government and Shoalhaven City Council will support the local company as it faces closure.

Shoalhaven paper mill worker Jack Evans is hopeful the federal government and Shoalhaven City Council will support the local company as it faces closure.

SHOALHAVEN Paper Mill faces closure putting Australia’s passport security at risk as the nation’s only watermark and security grade paper facility.

The Australian Paper mill in Bomaderry is the only Australian producer of national security grade paper used to make Australian passports and birth certificates, among other papers used by the Australian Federal Police, DFAT, State Police, and forensic document examiners.

The mill is under threat of closure due to a lack of orders. 

Jack Evans has worked at the mill for 20 years and is the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s Pulp and Paper Workers District Nowra Sub-Branch Secretary.

He said if the federal federal government does not change its procurement policy and commit to buy more Australian-made paper, and fewer imports, the mill will close in the near future.

"For the past 18 months, delegations of pulp and paper workers from our mill and others have been to Parliament House on five occasions," Mr Evans said.

"We met with the Prime Minister and ministers responsible for the finance, industry and forestry portfolios, back benchers, key cross bench members and an array of advisers and departmental staff. 

“We have also met with concerned and supportive MPs who have paper manufacturers within their electorates, including the current and former members for Gilmore," Mr Evans said.

He said the need for Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis to get support for the mill from her senior colleagues including the Prime Minister was critical.

“We have called on Ms Sudmalis to assist us by lobbying Deputy Chair of the Procurement Inquiry, Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi. The Committee is due to report on June 30.

"We need a recommendation in the report to save the Shoalhaven mill and then a swift Government response.

“Ann Sudmalis has been extremely supportive of our campaign since becoming the new member and has already received a briefing from pulp and paper workers in December last year.

“She called on Government agencies to procure the Optix brand for its coloured A4 copy paper needs in order to help our mill survive. 

"We are not asking for a hand out, just a hand up by our government spending our taxpayer money on locally made goods," Mr Evans said.

Visit this story later today for updates.

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