The timber crisis in Victoria is exacerbating a worsening national pallet shortage, which is feared will lead to supermarket shortages before Christmas.
The union representing forestry and forest product workers, CFMEU Manufacturing Division, has asked the Victorian Premier to ensure that Victoria’s timber pallet makers are able to get the logs they need to manufacturer urgently needed timber pallets.
The timber supply crisis in Victoria is a result of the State Government’s failure to ensure the supply of logs that were guaranteed in the Victorian Forestry Plan.
The union’s National Secretary Michael O’Connor said the hardwood industry is in chaos as a result of Government failure to stop third party litigation, resulting in the halting of timber production. Last week, the union wrote to the Premier seeking a legislative solution. The union has again written to the Premier seeking action to protect jobs and avert pre-Christmas critical supermarket shortages.
“The Premier needs to act urgently to get pallet production back up and running in Victoria, so the problems impacting pallet supply nationally aren’t being made worse by a log supply crisis here,” Michael O’Connor said.
The State’s largest timber pallet producing mill, Dormit at Dandenong, produces 70,000 pallets per month.
The mill is running out of logs as a result of the chaos in the industry, and is winding down production. Around 40 workers are facing stand downs.
The Australian Food and Grocery Council this week told unions and the Government that supermarkets could experience critical shortages of goods in the leadup to Christmas as a result of the pallet shortage.
The union is also warning that the pallet shortage is causing some manufacturers of goods including packaging, beverages and toilet paper, to slow down production.
“This is developing into a perfect storm ahead of Christmas: job losses, a slow-down in manufacturing, and potential critical supermarket shortages.
“The situation would be greatly alleviated in Victoria if the Government took up the union’s plan.”