Otway Ranges Environment Network



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Midway export woodchip mill

What is Midway?
Who are the Midway Shareholders?

What is Midway?

Midway is an export woodchip mill located at North Shore in Geelong. Midway exports hardwood woodchip from native forests and plantations. Midway also export softwood woodchips from plantations. The main customer for Midway woodchips is Nippon Paper in Japan. Midway use Mitsui as a Japanese trading partner.

Native forest woodchip pile with bulldozer on top, Midway, Geelong.

From the early 1990's through to 1998, all Otway trees cut for woodchips (70%+) were sent to Kimberly Clark in South Australia to be made into Kleenex tissues for the Australian domestic market. However after a consumer backlash campaign against Kleenex by Otway local residents, Kimberly Clark stopped sourcing woodchips from the Otways by the end of the 1997/1998 logging season.

Midway took over the Kimberly Clark Otway woodchip licence. Otway native forest woodchips where then exported for the next decade until logging was banned in 2008.

Midway annual sales of hardwood woodchip are about 800,000 tonnes. This is made up of both hardwood and softwood chips from all over Victoria. Every year about 70,000 tonnes of this came from Otway native forest.

At least 70% of all the native forest trees clearfell logged in the Otways were woodchipped at the Midway mill. About 60-70% of the cash flow to pay loggers to actually log the forest came from the woodchip industry.

Government policy states that logging on public land must be for sawlogs although there is not a regulated definition of the sawlog driven concept.

OREN wrote a report to show that logging in the Otways is clearly woodchip driven.
See Sawlogs are a by-product of the woodchip industry.

During the phase out period (2002-2008), Midway continue to take Otway native forest woodchips. About 1,200 ha (12 sq kilometers) of Otway forest was clearfell logged during the phase out period.

In December 2003 the Greater Geelong City Council issued a planning permit that reminds Midway of councils opposition to clearfell logging and woodchipping of Otways biodiverse native forest. More info.

Midway Shareholders

Midway was started in 1981 by a consortium of sawmillers, mainly from Colac. Since then there has been many changes to the share structure of Midway.

An Australian Securities & Investment Commission(ASIC) company extract for Midway Pty Ltd (as of the 25 Feb 2004) reveals that over 80% of Midway shares are controlled by 5 primary interest groups:

1. Chebmont Pty Ltd 35.8% (Includes Gunnersen family)

2. McCormack 23.7% (Group of companies that use the name McCormack)

3. Bennett 8.1%

4. Murnane 7.8 %

5. Corrigan 5% (Group of companies that use the name Corrigan)

Overall about 60% of all Midway shares are registered at Pitcher Partners. Pitcher Partners are an accounting, auditing and financial advice company who also specialise in superanuation services. See www.pitcher.com.au.

Pitcher Partners is also the Midway appointed Auditor

1. Chebmont Pty Ltd.

An company extract of Chebmont(2004) shows that several members of the Gunnersen family are directors. In 1999, a company called Marbut had a large share holding of Midway. ASIC listing of Marbut Pty Ltd shows it was once called MARBUT-GUNNERSEN INDUSTRIES PTY. LTD.

Marbutt Pty Ltd shares have now been absorbed into Chebmont Pty Ltd.

The Gunnersen family owns Timbermark. See www.gunnersens.com.au. Gunnersen has past and current involvement in the Victorian Association of Forest Industries(VAFI) and National Association of Forest Industries(NAFI).

Chebmont Pty Ltd has seven shares all owned by Pitcher Partners Nominees Pty Ltd. Pitcher Partners Nominees Pty Ltd are in turn owned by Pitcher Partners Management Pty Ltd.

2. McCormack

A group of companies make up the total McCormack share holding in Midway.

Greg McCormack is the Managing Director of Midway. The McCormack family also owns sawmills at Erica and Broadford.

Greg McCormack is also the current President of both the National Association of Forest Industries(NAFI) and the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI).

3. W.H. Bennetts & Sons Pty Ltd.

Bennetts surrendered their Otway sawlog licence in 2000 as a part of the now discredited and abandoned West Regional Forest Agreement process. As a result the sawmill mill in Birregurra closed but the town was not devastated as wrongly predicted by pro-woodchipping groups.
See Birregurra sawmill closes.

4. ET & EW Murnane Pty Ltd.

This company is connected to the last remaining sawmill to take sawlogs from public land in the Otways. See more information on Murnane.

5. Corrigan.

A group of companies make up the total Corrigan share holding in Midway.



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