"This means that 300 direct jobs at the Boyer plant and another 900 indirect jobs have been secured," Mr Hutchinson said. Mr Hutchinson acknowledged the big investment of funding by the previous Federal Government which allowed the expansion to get under way in early 2013.
Mr Hutchinson said Norske Skog’s conversion of one of its paper machines gave it a new production capacity of 140,000 tonnes of high quality magazine paper a year. "It makes Norske Skog the only paper mill with this kind of capability in Australia," he said. "The company will now be able to diversify, harness new business opportunities and secure its future here."
Norske Skog regional president Andrew Leighton thanked everyone associated with the machine conversion project and the new product’s development. “Vantage is a new and exciting product incorporating the latest advancements in paper making and coating technology. It is truly a world class LWC that is ideally suited to the modern, high speed presses that operate in this region," Mr Leighton said.
"I would like to thank the Federal and Tasmanian Governments for supporting this project together with the significant capital investment by our owners. This project is a key component of our regional strategy to transform the business from being wholly a newsprint producer to having a more diverse future in paper, fibre and energy," he said.
"I congratulate the team at Boyer for their painstaking work in upgrading and extending an existing machine through the addition of state-of-the-art new equipment. This has been a real team effort across our entire business and literally hundreds of people have been involved in one way or another to make it a success. They can all be proud of their efforts."
Boyer Mill general manager Rod Bender thanked attendees for their support throughout the project. He said everyone employed at the mill appreciated its importance to the mill’s future and was grateful for the bi-partisan support received from both Federal and State governments.
Mr Bender said the project team had done an outstanding job, both in terms of the project itself and also in maximising local content and the associated flow on benefits to the Tasmanian economy. "Almost 200 Tasmanian firms were involved in bringing this project to fruition. Local expenditure was over $40 million, which is in addition to the $140 million we spend on wages and salaries and local goods and services every year."
The new product will be used by printers, publishers and retailers across Australia and offers the benefits of shorter lead times, lower inventory, less delays and greater flexibility. It also allows customers to deal direct with people who operate in the same time zone, whether ordering paper or obtaining assistance from Norske Skog’s technical support team.
Fast facts – Boyer Mill and Machine Conversion Project
- The Boyer Mill produced Australia’s first newsprint in 1941 and has operating continuously for 73 years
- The mill is one of Tasmania's largest employers and is a major contributor to the Tasmanian and Australian economies providing some 330 direct jobs and over 900 indirect jobs
- Local expenditure is over $140 million each year in wages and salaries, goods and services and payments for wood, energy supplies and transport
- Total capital cost of the machine conversion project was $85 million, and the project was delivered according to schedule
- The number of Tasmanian businesses who were key suppliers of goods and services numbered almost 200 in total, with more than $40 million spent directly in Tasmania, and a total of just over $50 million in Australia
- At the peak in construction there were over 250 people working directly on the project
- The converted machine has an annual capacity of around 140,000 tonnes of Light Weight Coated (LWC) paper suitable for the production of catalogues and magazines
- The Boyer Mill will be the only Australian producer of LWC and will offset much of the current import of this paper
- The machine conversion project was assisted by a wide range of Tasmanian companies