Forum to stress more commitment needed if plant is to stay open

TONIGHT, Monday, July 21 Roy and Troy Bennett will be among what they hope will be a crowd who will gather to seek a firm commitment from the federal government to keep the Shoalhaven Paper mill in operation. 

It follows a commitment from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last month that the federal government would continue to buy specialist Australian-made passport paper from the Shoalhaven Paper mill until at least June 2015. 

“The government needs to buy more Australian-made paper,” Ron said.

“We need to get the numbers, so we get heard,” Troy said.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union pulp and paper secretary Jack Evans said the campaign was about increasing public awareness.

“Ann Sudmalis has taken the issue to Parliament on two occasions,” he said.

“The passport paper is a great victory, but it’s not going to save us alone,” he said.

“We need to do a lot more. We need to lobby the government to use Australian-made paper and to create policies to benefit our industry.

“We want to be on a level playing field so we can be competitive with imports.

“But we don’t want to lower our standards to theirs, we want to bring them up to ours.

“Out of about 22 government departments, only six use Australian Paper.

“The only thing that is going to save this joint is orders.”

The community forum will be held at 7.30pm at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, Bridge Street, Nowra. 

Speakers will include: Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis; CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor; Shoalhaven Mill worker and CFMEU Nowra Sub-Branch secretary Jack Evans; mill manager Bruce Borchardt; and chief executive officer of the Flagstaff Group Roy Rogers. 

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