Log shortage shuts mill
By SALLY GORDON
A TYNDALE mill operator has shut his business, claiming State Forests failed to fulfil contractual obligations for the supply of timber.
Last Thursday Doug Jones stood down his entire staff of six employees after he was forced to pull the pin on Jones' Sawmilling.
Mr Jones said since October last year, State Forests, which he claimed supplied 50 per cent of his timber stock, had consistently failed to provide logs that were within the specifications of his timber supply arrangement.
Mr Jones is one of a number of mills on the North Coast that are locked into a 20-year timber supply contract with State Forests.
The contract stipulates the size of the logs that should be supplied, the species and quality of timber and the area from which timber is sourced.
The fourth generation miller has threatened legal action against State Forests and said if they didn't meet contractual obligations he 'would see them in court'.
"Six months into the agreement and after many disputes ... they tell me they can't supply the logs within the specification of the contract," he said.
NSW Opposition spokesperson for Primary Industries Duncan Gay, said North Coast timber mills were starting to hurt because State Forests was not meeting timber quotas.
But, managing director for Big River Timbers Jim Bindon said they had not experienced any major problems with wood supply.
Spiro Notaras from Notaras and Sons believed wet weather was the main issue and that State Forests could look at better planning for 'dry' timber areas.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said allegations of contract breaches were untrue.
"Given recent heavy rains of up to 30 inches in the region, access to both State forests and private property harvesting areas has understandably been restricted for the broader industry including Jones' Sawmilling at Tyndale," Mr Macdonald said.
"As a result, Forests NSW has taken a number of alternative measures to ensure it delivers on its obligations under wood supply agreements.
"This includes redirection of timber and commencement of an additional harvesting contractor in North East region to help meet the supply needs.