State Govt snubs workers
BOSTOBRICK's former Boral timber mill workers are fighting depression as they grapple with the news that they will not receive any money from the Forestry Structural Adjustment Package (FISAP).
On Friday the NSW Premier's Department confirmed in writing to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) that the retrenched Bostobrick workers would get no money from FISAP.
The CFMEU lobbied the NSW Government for assistance for the workers, saying the job losses were a direct result of State Government policy.
The NSW Government has defended its decision, saying Boral had decided to close the mills as a direct result of the housing market downturn.
Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said Commonwealth interest rate policy rather than state forestry policy led to the sawmill closures. Interest rates are set by the Reserve Bank, not the government.
The State Secretary of the Forestry and Furnishing Division of the CFMEU, Craig Smith, said Boral had not put in writing the continuing impact of the forestry policy on the mills because of fears that would affect its timber supply from state forests.
The general manager of Boral Timber, Peter Boyd, said Boral had never been formally asked to put that in writing,
Mr Smith said there had been no doubt in his mind the workers were eligible for FISAP and he had been 'pretty confident' until Friday, which was 'the final nail in the coffin'. He said the NSW Government had stuck to the 'arbitrary' cutoff date of June 30, 2005.