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End of an era for timber mill

LAST LOAD: Robertson Bros Sawmills Pty Ltd with the last load of spotted gums from Miva.
LAST LOAD: Robertson Bros Sawmills Pty Ltd with the last load of spotted gums from Miva.

THE timber industry in the Wide Bay has taken a blow with the closure of the Brooweena sawmill after workplace health and safety identified concerns with machinery.

The Brooweena mill had been in operation since 1924 and was a historic cog in the Wide Bay timber industry.

With the imminent closure of the site - other mills in the area are hopeful of picking up the work.

Brooweena manager Roger Fallon said fewer mills meant less competition and less money for timber growers.

Fraser Coast regional councillor James Hansen said the closure would affect the region's timber industry.

"There are a lot of flow-on affects," he said.

"There's a lot of people involved in cutting the timber and tailing the timber."

Wade Sawmill operate in Maryborough and manufacture a large range of timber products to cater for all applications in the building industry.

A Wade Sawmill spokesman said the closure of the Brooweena mill wouldn't affect it a great deal.

"I don't know exactly how much Brooweena was doing but they were a reasonably small mill, so I don't think there was a huge amount to go around," he said.

The spokesman said Wade Sawmill mainly cut pine and Brooweena only cut hardwood.

"Some stuff may flow over or people might just turn to pine," he said.

The spokesman said it was a relatively good year for the Wade mill.

He said heavy rain impacted the mill's ability to get material from the bush - affecting the whole production process.

Maryborough MP Anne Maddern, whose electorate takes in Brooweena, said it was sad to see an iconic business shut.

"The timber industry is very important to our area but also to the state," she said.

"It is a sad day to see the closure of this long established mill and to know the impact it will have on the employees, their families and the community.

"The State Government has carried out an extensive investigation and consultation process into the timber industry and has developed a Timber Industry Plan which I understand is due to be released shortly."

Ms Maddern said she would meet management and staff of the Brooweena mill today.

Topics:  business timber timber industry