Friday, August 27, 2010

Greens still oppose Tamar mill by SUE NEALES. Published in The Mercury, August 27 2010

TASMANIAN Greens leader and Government minister Nick McKim believes a pulp mill will never be built in the Tamar Valley.
He said yesterday the Greens did not support the Gunns pulp mill planned for Bell Bay and would not be altering that position.
But Mr McKim said the Greens were prepared to consider any new proposal for a pulp mill of a different design at an alternative location.
He said if any future mill was based only on plantation timber, was chlorine free in its processing method and as close to closed loop as possible, without any effluent, the Greens would be supportive.
"A proposal for another pulp mill somewhere in Tasmania, we are prepared to look at, as long as it is put through the proper processes," he said.
His comments came after the leaking of a final negotiating draft on Wednesday linked to high-level talks to reach a peace plan over logging.
The document revealed that secretive talks of the past six months between forest industry and environmental groups were approaching the completion of an agreed framework for the Tasmanian forestry industry.
Premier David Bartlett told Parliament he was disappointed leaks had occurred at a time when the talks were building trust and goodwill.
He said he would not enter the debate on Tasmania's forest industry future while the negotiations were continuing.
"This is too important, we are on the cusp of a new economic direction where we can shout from the highest tree everything we are proud of in Tasmania," he said.
"There are challenges ahead but I say to everyone who wants to play the fear card to think beyond next week's news cycle to the future of Tasmania, based on innovation, new ideas and a forestry industry that all Tasmanians can be proud of."
Opposition Leader Will Hodgman accused those involved of selling out a viable industries.
Mr Bartlett acknowledged the Government was going to have to make some tough calls but said he was confident that a move towards a plantation-based industry would result in sustainable increases in jobs in the forest industry.
It appears critical divides remain within the roundtable group, which includes the Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Timber Communities Australia and the National Association of Forest Industries.
The future construction of the Tamar Valley pulp mill appears to remain a critical, if unresolved, theme of difference remaining between the key groups, as does the future of power stations in Tasmania fuelled by burning wood waste.
The Wilderness Society yesterday emphatically denied it had given the green light to the Gunns pulp mill or was trading off forests against pulp.
However, other organisations questioned the commitment of environmental groups to any final agreement.

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