An Indigenous logging company will start initial milling of timber and create more than 50 new jobs, mostly in the Cape, thanks to a grant from the state government.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the government has given a $480,000 grant to Wik Timber Holdings to purchase and install a Gibson sawmill.
“Wik Timber is an Indigenous-owned company that specialises in harvesting timber on mining leases that would otherwise have to be incinerated,” Mr Miles said.
“This funding will assist Wik Timber to purchase, transport and install the Gibson sawmill from Mareeba to its Hey Point base near Weipa.
“This mill will break down the raw logs into green off-saw timber before shipping them to Cairns.
“Investing in companies like Wik Timber is part of our economic recovery plan to create jobs and see local companies grow.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the project will support more than 50 jobs in the forestry industry and additional new jobs in the wider community.
“The Palaszczuk government is committed to creating jobs in this region. Many of the jobs will be in Aurukun and Napranum,” she said.
“We are proud to support a company that is creating jobs in the Far North.
“Not only will the project support more than 50 jobs in the region it will generate sales of up to $15 million and produce $100 million worth of dressed timber annually.”
Gina Castelain, Wik Development Group Managing Director, said Wik Timber has worked in partnership with Rio Tinto to harvest logs from the Amrun mining lease near Weipa.
“We have been developing a timber harvesting project that will produce up to 125,000 tonnes of timber per annum for export and domestic markets,” Ms Castelain said.
“This breakdown mill at Hey Point will reduce costs and eliminate the need to use contractors for initial sawing of logs so we can put on more Indigenous workers.
“This is really exciting for Wik Timber to help develop our markets, with major Queensland retailers indicating their interest in purchasing significant quantities of finished timber, mainly for use such as decking.”
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 31 May 2021.