One of the Clarence Valley’s largest timber companies, Big River Group has been successful in securing a $10 million ‘dollar-for-dollar’ bushfire industry recovery grant to assist in consolidating its operations and enhance its Grafton-based facility, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis have announced.
Big River is well renowned with over a century of experience in the timber industry and one of the Clarence Valley’s major industry employers. They currently have two main operating facilities, Wagga Wagga and Grafton.
Following the recent bushfires, the long term supply of logs for their operations were severely impacted and it became apparent there was insufficient log resources in the Tumut region to sustain the Wagga facility.
Big River Group has made a business decision to consolidate its operations to a single site at Grafton, where a sustainable supply of both hardwood and softwood logs exist.
Mr Hogan said the $20 million project has the capacity to create 20 new jobs in Grafton, whilst securing the jobs of the current 60 full time employees.
“I am focused on backing projects that are creating and retaining jobs across our region,” he said.
“This project will enhance the production capacity for all plywood products, including high quality formply products, architectural panels and high strength plywood for civil construction.
Mr Gulaptis said it was important to back projects that put people back in work, retain existing jobs and stimulate local economies.
“There is currently an excess of pine log availability in our region, providing a sustainable resource for Big River,” Mr Gulaptis said.
“While this has been a difficult decision for the company, it is a positive outcome for our community and comes at a critical time after back-to-back challenges.”
The $10 million grant has been provided through the Bushfire Industry Recovery Package, co-funded by the NSW and Federal Governments and will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by Big River Group.