Thursday, November 11, 2010

West Tamar Council set for 2011 Tamar Valley Pulp Mill elector meeting proposed regarding dangerous West Tamar Highway

The excerpt below is from page 77-78 of the Council Meeting agenda for November 16 2010 as listed on the West Tamar Council Website - here - also see page 82 for motion to hold community meeting on dangerous West Tamar Highway.


1) Motion
That council authorises the holding of an elector poll to be held concurrently
with the next Council Elections (expected in October 2011).

The elector poll will ask the following question;

Do you agree with the proposed pulp mill being located in
the Tamar Valley?”

2) Background
In the recent past Tasmania has been told of the results of what was called “the forestry round table”. The outcome has been described as an historic agreement between the forestry industry stakeholders on the one hand and the environmental stakeholders on the other. The outcome has been described as a “peace deal” and a “game changer”. The information contained in the print media and discussed at some length on radio was the position of “a pulp mill” in the future of the forestry industry. The agreement supports the building of “a pulp mill” as part of the agreement. At present there is only one proposal for a pulp mill and that is Gunns
proposed pulp mill located in the Tamar Valley.

In 2005 an elector poll was held and asked exactly the same question. Why then would it make sense to have an elector poll in 2011?  The forestry round table outcomes are a “game changer”. A great deal has
happened since 2005 and the last few months have put into agreement form some of the shifts in approach that have been made by Gunns, the environmental movement, the government and the forestry industry. One of these shifts is the apparent acceptance of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation.

The residents of the West Tamar municipality have not been part of the forestry round table. They are stakeholders, but have not been given any say in the outcome. Clearly the forestry industry, Gunns and environmental groups have been given a say. Contrast the position of West Tamar residents with that of the Environmental Non Government Organisations (ENGOs). For example, the ENGO’s will apparently be able to decide what constitutes high conservation value forest areas. The FSC accreditation includes a significant community input, community say in the formulation of areas to be logged, processes to be used and other issues.

The old RPDC assessment criteria back in 2005, for the proposed pulp mill, included what could broadly be described as a “getting community support for the project” criteria. Our West Tamar residents are at risk in the “forestry round table” process of being totally left out of decisions. Will the ENGO’s decide that the gains achieved in ending old growth forest logging justify the ENGO’s agreeing to support, or at least not oppose, a Tamar Valley pulp mill? Will Gunns actually do what every other major project proponent has done and put up a proposal that will attract community support? Or will they do a deal with the ENGO’s that allows a Tamar Valley pulp mill to proceed?

The purpose of running an elector poll is to put all the parties on notice that at the next West Tamar Council election the residents of the West Tamar will be able to express their view. The proposed elector poll will constrain any tendency for the stakeholders to make cosy deals among themselves. It will put the location of the Tamar Valley pulp mill proposal on the political agenda for the next eleven months.

It will provide the definitive result on the pulp mill location that the council can point to as the community position. For a pulp mill to proceed there will need to be community support. The elector poll gives the proponent the chance to work with the community over the next eleven months and then be given the opportunity to demonstrate that they have a proposal that has community support. Finally the elector poll is about giving our West Tamar residents a voice. A chance to have their say on the issue that has been very dominant for the last 6 years.

Peter Kearney, COUNCILLOR

3) Officer’s Comments

Council authorised the conducting of an elector poll on the issue of locating the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in July 2005 (refer Minute No 76/05 Notice of Motion: Cr Kearney – Elector Poll Proposed Pulp Mill).

The result of the poll was the subject of an agenda items to council in November 2005 (refer Minute No 136/05 General Manager’s Report: Results of Elector Poll Regarding the Proposed Pulp Mill Being Located in the Tamar Valley).

The results of the poll (“Do you agree with the proposed pulp mill being
located in the Tamar Valley?”) were:

YES vote 3782 votes 44.05%
NO vote 4804 votes 55.95%

The cost of the elector poll in 2005 was $6,000 therefore the expected cost
in 2011 would be approximately $6,000 - $7,000.

Ian Pearce


  1. My hope is that the WTC continues to oppose the pulp mill in the same manner that the Launceston council does. The Launceston council put its concerns to the then Premier, Paul Lennon. Concerns such as community health and traffic congestion were cited. The LCC could not support the pulp mill while these concerns were unanswered.
    They are still waiting for an answer.

    I had almost given up on the WTC. Gunns still have to obtain access for their mill pipeline through council and community owned land.
    The silence from the WTC was concerning.

  2. Hopefully LCC will take a leaf from WTC's book and also conduct an elector poll.

  3. I expect the WTC elector poll will provide the same result that every other poll and survey has returned in relation to support for a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. The community doesn't want a pulp mill, will never want a pulp mill, and will campaign against ever having a pulp mill pollute this wonderful valley for as long as it is necessary.

    It really isn't a difficult concept to understand, but 'no pulp mill' and 'no social licence, ever' seems to be beyond the comprehension of both Gunns and governments if the last six years of fighting the stinking idea are anything to go by. Which doesn't say a lot for their collective intelligence really, does it?

    But it says a helluva lot about the extent of community determination, so I hope any potential JVP or other misguided investor is taking note.

  4. I would like to know how all the "experts"know so much about the mill but use stinking wood heaters along the Tamar ...There are other alternatives I live on the tamar and have to return to mainland for 3 months of the year because of the smoke from heaters and backyard burnoffs
    Im a self funded retiree and run a heatpump and/or gas heaters so whats the problem ????
    The west tamar h/way would have to be one on the worst roads in Aus maybe instead of spending all those millions to bring our footy teams over (Hawthorn, Nth Melb etc) the gov should spend money on local teams to get one in the AFL and spend the rest on the roads oh and please dont speak for me as I retired there

  5. Hypocrites are people who on one hand say "DONT SHOP AT GUNNS" then whinge when they want to sell their business or close down their logging opperations ??

  6. Breathtaking logic there anonymous. If your respiratory problems are so bad that you have to leave the state for three months a year and you recognise the problem as woodsmoke, i would have thought you would object to any new development that ADDS to the existing problem of woodsmoke pollution.

  7. no logic is you fix the problem that is already there push for the gas line ,if you actually live in the tamar valley you would be trying to get people to stop the backyard burnoffs and get rid of the wood heaters
    and the rubbish about too expensive ,and "im a pensioner" etc wheres the savings when people worked that is if they did work ??? heat pumps are not expensive neither are gas heaters

  8. I'm not convinced you really care anonymous. If you did care you wouldnt be supporting a pulp mill thats going to add massively to air pollution. And you wouldnt be blaming people who are trying to prevent more air pollution.

  9. explain to me why its going to "add massively to air pollution" also why not stop using stinking wood heaters I dont use one or burn off rubbish is taken to the tip my large trees when they die I pay HST to cut them down and mulch them
    ALL the people around here with ban the Mill burn off and have wood heaters Im not for or against the mill but I do live in the valley

  10. I dont know why you are berating me about woodheaters. I dont make the laws, neither do i like woodheaters though i wouldnt see people freeze either.
    What are you doing to clean up the Tamar Valley?
    I use a nice heatpump myself.
    If i have to explain to you how a world scale Kraft Pulp Mill will contribute to air pollution in a valley that already has some of the worst pollution in the country then you wouldnt understand anyway. For a start the mill is exempted from the air quality act for a reason. Why do you reckon?
    Kraft Pulp Mills stink and the smell can be detected more than 50km away yet Gunns are proposing to build in a valley with an inversion layer that keeps the air from circulating.
    The minimal emissions will predominantly be water vapour and carbon dioxide with up to 500kgs of particulates a day emitted. Approximately 500,000 green tonnes of bark, fines, sawdust, wood waste and other forest residues will be burnt to supply steam and power for the pulp mill. That's equivalent to 70,000 wood heaters in consumption. Hows that for starters Einstein?

  11. and where did you get those figures from
    are you a scientist??dont get personal I only do that face to face Im asking a civil Question ... It doesnt alter the fact that wood heaters cause more problems health wise than any other single thing ask the asthma foundation if you want to call me names I will send my address

  12. There is a mountain of literature on the pulp mill. How about you go and read it and then get back to me.