The Hyne Timber mill in Tumbarumba is back up and running despatching truckloads of timber, thanks to the many volunteers and emergency services that protected the facility throughout the bushfire crisis.
Hyne Timber has deployed several of their Queensland staff in Tumbarumba to assist with the mill's recommencement and support local team members during their recovery. Hyne Timber Tumbarumba employs approximately 230 people directly, and is part of a circular economy worth $2 billion every year to the South West Slopes region and supporting almost 5000 jobs in all.
With Hyne Timber’s Tumbarumba Mill being categorised as critical infrastructure, it was protected accordingly by qualified strike teams, says Hyne Timber CEO Jon Kleinschmidt.
“Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the Fire and Rescue strike team to understand the reassuring fire prevention measures and readiness they had in place.
“I also met with many Rural Fire Service volunteers and emergency services, many of whom are our own team members, who continued to fight bushfires, put in containment lines and help the broader community,” Kleinschmidt said.
Recovery has begun in the Tumbarumba region with the town busy rebuilding and Hyne Timber remaining focused on supporting the community through the long-term operations at the mill.
“Once small volumes of existing log yard stocks have been processed, we will be prioritising the processing of salvaged burnt log, which we have done before. Once we remove the burnt bark, the structural grade timber is the same quality our customers value and we appreciate their ongoing support.”
Hyne Timber, Visy Pulp and Paper and AKD Softwoods are the three largest employers within the region's industry, together employing over 750 people directly across Tumbarumba and Tumut. Collectively, and with the support of the Softwood Working Group, the companies are engaging constructively with all levels of Government.
“We have welcomed preliminary meetings with the NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Barilaro who has also been appointed the Minister for Disaster Recovery. As with support for individuals and wildlife, Government support for the industry and associated economy will be critical as part of the ongoing recovery efforts,” Kleinschmidt said.
Earlier this month, the NSW Government declared a State of Emergency in response to the bushfire crisis with the conflagration going out of control in many places. Hyne Timber’s Tumbarumba mill was shut down with team members managing their personal response to the emergency as a priority. Communication was also a challenge with limited power and mobile reception, according to Kleinschmidt, which made it difficult to understand the extent of impact on employees and the community. While the township became isolated and some team members lost their homes, the emergency services and the Snowy Valleys Council did an exceptional job of bringing the community together through community meetings to communicate official advice.
Hyne Timber thanks all those who supported team members, the community and the mill, including the emergency services, volunteers, staff and many others.