A re-elected Morrison Government has pledged up to $2 million as part of a $6.9 million investment in partnership with the Tasmanian Government and Norske Skog to reduce costs and support long-term sustainability at Norske Skog’s Boyer Mill site.
The Morrison Government’s $2 million will fast-track an investment ready analysis for the replacement of the coal-fired boiler at the Boyer Mill.
The Tasmanian Government’s $2 million contribution is aimed at helping the Mill to remain globally competitive, including investigating diversification options to ensure it remains an important employment hub for the region and emissions reduction opportunities.
Norske Skog will fund the remainder of the projects to upgrade the Mill.
Norske Skog is Australia’s only publication grade paper producer, delivering over 260,000 tonnes of product every year around the country.
Assistant Minister for Industry Development and Liberal Senator for Tasmania Jonno Duniam said that only the Morrison Government had a plan to support sovereign manufacturing and local jobs.
“As the last remaining newsprint manufacturer in Australia, we know how critical the future of this facility is to regional papers right across the country and jobs in Tasmania,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.
“The impacts of COVID-19, global trade issues around shipping, and the war in Ukraine are all putting pressure on the availability and price of newsprint.
“While Australia is not immune from those cost pressures, having sovereign capability in this area means that we have a domestic supply of newsprint available when the crunch is on.
“This domestic supply is important to our journalism industry, particularly regional newspapers that would feel the pressure from a lack of supply most acutely.
“This joint investment is about making sure that Norske Skog can make improvements to their cost base, but also plan for the future to ensure that they can reduce emissions, keep costs down and continue to deliver an Australian source of newsprint.
“While the Morrison Government is investing in the future of manufacturing in Australia, Labor wants to hit the industry with higher costs by implementing a carbon tax by stealth.
“Labor’s plan to tighten the safeguard mechanism would drive up costs for some of Australia’s biggest employers, including Norske Skog, by forcing them to buy carbon credits or mandating changes to their operations.
“This could of course have flow-on impacts to the price of newsprint in Australia, potentially putting regional newspapers out of business and putting our fourth estate at risk.
“The Morrison Government has been very clear – our plan to reduce emissions is based on technology, not taxes.
“The impact that Labor’s carbon tax by stealth could have on paper manufacturing in this country is proof that they cannot be trusted to bring emissions down without destroying jobs.”
Tasmanian Minister for State Development Guy Barnett said the Boyer Mill has been a cornerstone of the local community in the Derwent Valley, supporting local jobs, families and the local economy, since it was built in 1941.
“The Tasmanian Government greatly values the Mill’s long-term economic relationship with the Tasmanian community and significant benefits it has delivered over many decades.
“This is why the Tasmanian Government is pleased to contribute $2 million of funding as part of this package to support its efforts to diversify its operations and improve productivity at Boyer Mill,” Minister Barnett said.
Liberal Candidate for Lyons, Susie Bower, said the facility was a crucial employer that supported hundreds of families throughout New Norfolk and surrounds.
“Norske Skog directly employs 305 people, and supports a total of 1,000 direct and indirect jobs,” Ms Bower said.
“In a small community like New Norfolk, these jobs and the families they support are the lifeblood of the community.
“I am proud to be a part of a team that backs in the future of our regional industries and jobs, particularly a business like Norske Skog that is so important to the future of regional journalism and communities right across Australia.
“I look forward to working with Norske Skog to ensure that those jobs remain in the New Norfolk area and beyond for a long time to come.”
Only the Liberals have a plan to deliver a strong economy and a stronger future for all Tasmanians.