Paper-thin supply sparks textbook phobia in Australia

Parents buying back-to-school stationery may face price hikes and empty shelves as suppliers ration goods due to logistics and material pressures.

The Australian Lottery Newspaper Publishers Association has called on the federal government to ease import tariffs on blank paper after a shortage of wood at Australia’s last blank paper mill in Victoria hampered production.

The association’s CEO, Ben Kearney, told AAP, “There is some kind of rationing going on for the quantity that can be ordered, but there are still items on the shelves.”

“In the future, we may encounter situations where availability is insufficient.”

Carney said newsagents and other retailers are seeing paper costs increase by more than 50% in the coming months.

White paper production at Opal Australian Paper’s Maryvale mill was hit by a timber shortage in late December after state supplier VicForests was ordered to reduce logging in parts of Victoria.

The Victorian Supreme Court ruled that VicForests failed to adequately investigate the logging coupes of the two protected species of possum.

VicForests has appealed this decision, which will be heard in the Court of Appeals on March 23.

Office supply companies are pushing for the removal of import tariffs on white papers as shortages have forced them to foreign papers.

Office Brands CEO Adam Joy told AAP, “The tariffs were there to limit the damage to the Australian manufacturing market, but at this time there is no Australian manufacturing market.” rice field.

The association and Office Brands said they supported workers at the Maryvale plant and hoped the supply disruption would be resolved as soon as possible.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said Australia’s import tariffs are as low as 5%.

“And under Australia’s existing network of free trade agreements, FTA partners, including major paper suppliers to Australia such as China and Indonesia, will have tax-free access to Australia,” the statement said. .

The Ministry of Industry, Science and Resources, which deals with anti-dumping and countervailing duties, acknowledged the Australian Lotteries and Newsagents Association’s concerns about the supply of white copy paper.

“We encourage all buyers to continue their relationship with Opal Australian Papers in the hope that supply disruptions will be minimized or avoided,” said a department spokeswoman. I’m here.

“The rules governing anti-dumping measures are complex and require investigation by an independent anti-dumping commissioner before changing existing obligations.”

The CFMEU is seeking an audit of the amount of white papers available in the country and hopes the Victorian and Commonwealth governments will step in and restart production at Maryvale.

Manufacturing unions warned that paper products such as doctors’ scripts, exercise books and government service documents could be in short supply.

“I don’t know how many white papers are actually available in the country,” Dennis Campbell Burns, secretary of the Pulp and Paper Workers District, told AAP.

Disturbances at Opal have resulted in 49 production workers being laid off, but their wages will be guaranteed by the Victorian government until mid-February.

Opal, which is owned by Japan’s Nippon Paper Group, said it was considering “downscaling” its white paper production, although no decision had been taken on further shutdowns.

On Wednesday, Victoria’s Environment Minister Ingrid Stitt said talks were continuing between the government and Opal.


Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.