“Opal has made the final decision to stop the manufacturing of white pulp and paper at the Maryvale Mill,” said Opal Australia in a supply update on Wednesday morning, 15th February 2023. “Opal will now strengthen its core strategy as an integrated manufacturer of cardboard fibre packaging.” An estimated 200-300 jobs could be lost at the mill, the producer of Reflex print & copy paper.
“Despite our best endeavours, Opal has been unable to source viable alternative wood supplies to replace the shortfall from VicForests,” said the company, owned by global paper giant Nippon Paper.
|A Yellow-Bellied Glider Possum|
“As a result of this situation **, Maryvale Mill produced its last ream of copy paper on 21 January 2023.
“Given this unplanned situation and after significant consideration and analysis of a range of potential operating scenarios, Opal has made the final decision to stop the manufacturing of white pulp and paper at the Maryvale Mill.
“Having been seriously considering this option and consulting with our team members and Unions on this matter, Opal will now consult further on the impact of this final decision.
“Following that consultation, the process will then move through redeployment considerations and into a redundancy process in accordance with Opal’s legal obligations.
“Opal will now strengthen its core strategy as an integrated manufacturer of cardboard fibre packaging in Australia and New Zealand.
“Opal is committed to working closely with our key stakeholders to achieve a successful turnaround at the Maryvale Mill by transforming the site to meet the growing need for fibre packaging in Australia and New Zealand.
“It is now important to re-set the Maryvale Mill over the long-term as a sustainable, profitable and focused packaging manufacturing site within the integrated Opal business.
"We are continuing to work with the Victorian Government regarding any future support for the Maryvale Mill.
“In addition to Opal’s Employee Assistance Program and other support services, a Worker Support Service has been established by the Victorian Government to support Opal Australian Paper team members affected by stand downs and operational changes as may be required.
“Opal appreciates that the current situation is difficult for everyone and remains committed to continuing to keep our team members, customers and key stakeholders updated on further developments.”
** Allegedly failure to protect the yellow-bellied glider and the endangered greater glider, members of the Possum family and possibly the Flying Possum Union.
Commentaries from Social Media:
David Martin - CEO Spicers (LinkedIn)
"It is quite ironic for a local closed-loop industry, like paper, to be forced by the courts to close and shift production to China and Indonesia. Political agitators seem incapable of understanding a global context when prosecuting a local ideal, and this is the result. One can only hope common sense prevails, any regulatory gaps closed quickly, with a goal of sustainable and “lowest impact” production being resumed, as a positive comparison to alternate supply sources."
Stephen Hunt - Regulatory Compliance, Regulatory & Educational Professional (LinkedIn)
"This is yet another example of virtue-signalling where Australian production is moved overseas to countries that have lesser standards than Australia, where the environmental damage is far more, and where we are reliant on imports, subject to the whims of the foreign government (e.g. the CCP)"
Dirk Vennik - Mill Supervisor (LinkedIn)
"A sad day for Australian manufacturing, no matter what industry you are from. One would think after the lockdowns an so forth peoples eyes would open to see what Australia use to produce, now rely on and pay a effty price on was once made in Australia by the everyday Aussie battler.
It amazes me on how reliant Australia is on everyday goods and services made overseas just because they can maximise their profits.
I believe that we should be focusing on what we(companies) do better so that we keep jobs and industries here in OZ instead of profiteering from under paid and cheap labour."
Jason Knight - BDM Cleanaway (LinkedIn)
" Disgraceful. Reflex is one of Australia’s best known brands. The government who is a huge consumer of paper to allow its reliance to go overseas should hang their head in shame. I thought they were supposed to represent the people of Australia. My mistake apparently."
Wayne Robinson - Editor Print21 (LinkedIn)
"Tragic and bonkers"
Andy McCourt - Publisher WFOL (LinkedIn)
"Do I smell Possum Poo? After years of production and re-planting, they find a rare Possum and deny feedstock. Then production shifts to lower-cost China, Indonesia, Kalimantan, wherever. Hmmmmm, makes you think?"
See dozens more comments HERE
Nippon Paper Group told investors, in a ‘Background of withdrawal from the business’ notice, that alternative procurement of wood supplies was “not feasible”:
"MV Mill had sourced eucalyptus wood produced in Victoria’s state-owned forests as the raw material for bleached pulp, the main ingredient of graphic paper, from VicForests (VF), a Victorian state-owned forestry business.
VF had been contesting a combined court case involving the Environment East Gippsland and Kinglake Friends of the Forest environmental groups since 2021 regarding its timber harvesting activities. On 11 November 2022, the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, issued orders against VF which impacted VF ability to continue its timber harvesting operations, making it impossible for Opal to procure eucalyptus wood from VF.
In response to this sudden and unexpected suspension of supply, the Company and Opal has been considering alternative wood supplies in order to continue graphic paper operations but has concluded that alternative procurement is not feasible and has decided to discontinue the graphic paper business at the MV Mill (permanent suspension of some manufacturing assets).”