End of era as mill workers finish job

IT was a dark day at the Burnett Sawmill yesterday, as 24 employees finished work for the last time.

The workers lost their jobs when the mill sold its forestry licence and sawmilling operations to Townsville-based The Parkside Group last month.

“It's very sad for the workers that are leaving, and the mill,” Burnett Sawmill director Daryl Corpe said.

“I certainly hope that the workers find other employment quickly and wish them all the best in the future.”

Last month, The Parkside Group offered to discuss job opportunities with any of the employees who might want to be employed at their other sites - but Mr Corpe said he did not know whether any of the workers had taken up the offer.

Sixteen workers in the dry-milling division have kept their jobs for the time being.

“We haven't at this stage got any plans for the dry-milling operation,” Mr Corpe said.

“It has at least six months' work left, and we are still determining what will happen after that.”

He said the company was in talks with customers about continuing the dry-milling operations, but it was too early to comment on plans.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said she was saddened by the closure.

“Any job loss in the region is a concern for our economy, particularly when it is such an iconic company as the Burnett Sawmill,” Cr Pyefinch said.

“I hope the affected workers and their families can find alternative work quickly.”

Despite recent job losses, including 10 jobs that disappeared when Bundaberg Marketplace Fruits went into liquidation this week, Cr Pyefinch said the Bundaberg job market was relatively steady.

“We have been fairly lucky, because we have such a diverse range of industry in the region,” she said.

“One good thing is that we have not seen the kind of job losses that other areas have seen.”

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