COMMUNITY leaders have expressed sympathy for Norske Skog workers following Thursday's announcement that newsprint production is ending at the Ettamogah mill.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said the mill had "been an important part of our economy and our community for a long time".
"Certainly it is a significant blow," Cr Mack said.
"It's unfortunate for those employees who are working there and the families it impacts upon."
The mayor singled out high energy costs as a key to production ending and suggested other vital industries would go unless "something" was done by governments.
Albury councillor David Thurley, who switched from Australian Newsprint Mills' Tasmanian operations to work at the new Ettamogah mill, was not surprised but "extremely disappointed".
"It's been such a big part of Albury's life and a hell of a lot of people rely on it," he said.
"While there are a lot of small manufacturers, there's only one or two major manufacturers in the area, Uncle Ben's (Mars Petcare) and the mill are the two big ones, so it's going to be tough."
Cr Thurley said while fitter and turners would be able to transfer their skills, others with more specialised papermaking expertise may have limited job prospects.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy was left saddened.
"First and foremost my thoughts go out to the workers and families of Norske Skog," Mr Clancy said.
"Norske Skog and ANM have been a significant part of our landscape and identity as Albury since 1981."
Mr Clancy said it was apparent there were various factors in the demise - newsprint demand falling, cost pressures including energy bills and difficulty sourcing timber in Australia.
Member for Farrer Sussan Ley suggested the paper mill's production shutdown was bound to occur.
"The mill has been a leading part of the Border's manufacturing sector for over a generation, so it's a sad but perhaps inevitable day," she said.
Ms Ley hopes the Visy deal leads to a "productive and profitable future".
"Most of all my thoughts are with the staff, and I encourage any of our local industry bosses looking to put on someone in the new year, to consider the wide range of trade skills and experience many will have to offer you."