The West

Manjimup dodged Gunns  bullet
The Manjimup timber mill when was under Gunns' ownership. Picture: Sharon Smith/ The West Australian

WA's premier timber town Manjimup "dodged a bullet" when timber company Gunns all but abandoned its interests in the South West town in 2011, shire president Wade de Campo said this morning.

Gunns announced today it had gone into voluntary administration after posting a $904 million dollar loss.

The timber giant once had substantial timber interests in WA, boasting mills processing plants and distribution centres in Yarloop, Deanmill, Manjimup and Perth.

But it abandoned its native timber interests in WA, starting in 2009 when it announced it would close its sawmill in Yarloop, followed by closing WA's biggest jarrah mill near Manjimup in 2011.

Mr De Campo said the town had been dealt a body blow when Gunns started to abandon its WA operation in 2010 and 2011, it had managed to survive and recover, noting the town's processing centre and jarrah mill had been snapped up by Auswest Timber.

"Gunns were very destructive to the timber industry in WA, I really do feel they bled it dry before they got out," he said.

"In the end we were very glad to see them out of town," he said.

"We missed a bullet, we could have been in a much worse position."

Gunns closed its century-old mill in Deanmill, near Manjimup, in early 2011, which was later snapped up by Auswest Timbers.

Gunns is understood to still own a small distribution centre in Canningvale and there are reports it has interests in timber plantations throughout the South West.

The West Australian

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