BOSTOBRICK BACK DOWN

By UTE SCHULENBERG

BOSTOBRICK mill workers are breathing a collective sigh of relief after being told that Boral has withdrawn their eviction notices.

The notices were issued last week along with the news that the 22 workers in the tiny timber town had lost their jobs.

Yesterday, following a lengthy meeting between Boral and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union on Thursday, it was announced the workers would be allowed to stay in the company-owned cottages while a purchase program and other issues were looked at.

One long-time resident said not having the pressure of leaving was a huge relief.

"They have told us they are looking at a purchase option, which would be great for our community," she said.

"We all want to stay. But it will be tricky to find other work."

She said after the initial shock, people had got used to the job losses and the focus had shifted to the redundancy packages.

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said he was thrilled.

"At least now we have a short to medium term solution," Mr Fraser said.

"I believe money from the Forestry Structural Adjustment Package should be available to the workers but the minister (Ian Macdonald) is denying this.

"He maintains they are not entitled to it, but how can the government subsidise Boral to the tune of $10 million to build their new mill at Herons Creek and then say the closure of these other mills is not related?"

Mr Fraser said he would keep pressuring the minister to make some of the $4.1 million remaining in the package available to the workers for retraining.

He will also be meeting with Bellingen Shire mayor, Cr Mark Troy, and the member for Cowper, Luke Hartsukyer, to explore employment opportunities for Dorrigo.

"Dorrigo has lost so many jobs in the last 10 years. We need to find some way of replacing them."



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