Eden chip mill storm damage a ‘disaster’

The jetty and conveyor system at Eden's chip mill before the storm.
The jetty and conveyor system at Eden's chip mill before the storm.

Eden chip mill's jetty and conveyor system have sustained major storm damage, with parts of the infrastructure washed away by a "monster wave".

Allied Natural Wood Exports general manager Jarrod Wallis said this morning that the extent of the damage was still being assessed but that at least part of the jetty would need to be rebuilt.

Bega MP Andrew Constance inspected the Edrom Road operation earlier today and said two centre sections of the jetty, about 100 metres in length, were missing. 

Mr Constance immediately pledged state government support to help ANWE over what he said was a major blow to the business, the town and the state.

"It's a shocking event," Mr Constance said.

"At no point in the chip mill's history have we seen anything like this," he said.

The damage would require ongoing help from all three tiers of government and he would brief Premier Mike Baird on the situation in Eden as a matter of urgency, he said.

"This is not only a natural disaster, it is an economic and social disaster for the town as well," he said.

"This situation is going to require strong leadership from government, the timber industry and the community in the months ahead as we work together to find a way forward.

"You have my absolute commitment on this,"  he said, adding that he was mindful of the chip mill's economic contribution to the town and the jobs it provided.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Baird announced jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) disaster assistance for 37 local government areas in NSW this afternoon – and Bega Valley was on the list.

Mr Wallis said the jetty and conveyor belt were washed away sometime on Sunday night or in the early hours on Monday morning.

"We're still trying to get a handle on the extent of the damage and what to do next," Mr Wallis said this morning.

ANWE was not yet able to put a figure on the damage bill, he said.

There would be no immediate impact on the ANWE's workforce, he said.

There were no ships waiting to be loaded, he said.

Mr Constance has inspected flood damage in Narooma, Bega and Eden and said it would be the major item at Thursday's Cabinet meeting.


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