Image for Community forest restoration project on abandoned pulp mill site. Greens, ET, TWS, ACF latest ...

Today a squad from TAP Into A Better Tasmania’s Forest Restoration Division planted native trees on a section of the Gunns abandoned pulp mill site at Longreach.

“We realize this is only a token restoration but we have been very much heartened by the success of our restoration planting in the Trevallyn Reserve following the vandalism by Gunns in 2009”, said TAP spokesperson Bob McMahon.

“Gunns cleared an area of the peoples’ Trevallyn Reserve, as well as the Longreach site, in a vain attempt to convince a fantasy investor that the proposed pulp mill was a goer. That was nearly two years ago and the pulp mill proposal has only gone backwards since”, continued McMahon.

“We dedicate today’s planting to the memory of 5 inspirational campaigners for social justice and a world scale pulp industry free Tasmania.”

1. Stuart Leith, inaugural TAP member, who died at the helm of his yacht sailing down the Tamar to the TAP River Rally
in October 2006
2. Mike Bleaney from St Helens. Unqualified loyalty and support and a fighter to the end.
3. Ruth Rowe, TAP member. An indefatigable campaigner for the environment and social justice passed away recently aged 95.
4. Dr Peter Hewitt. One of his last public appearances was to address, from his wheelchair, a TAP demonstration outside Gunns offices.
5. Christopher Strong, former Headmaster of Launceston Church Grammar and passionate campaigner against monoculture plantations encroaching upon Tasmania’s rural communities.

“It is our expectation that communities right around Tasmania will look to schemes for reversing the government sponsored corporate vandalism that has destroyed much of our productive forests and left much of our productive farmland under useless monoculture tree plantations,” concluded McMahon.

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BURKE RELEASES PULP MILL PERMIT DECISION TOMORROW
Billions of Litres of “Chemicals of Interest” to Flow into Tamar Valley and Bass Straight
Cassy O’Connor MP
Greens Environment and Coastal Protection spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today again told the Parliament that the Gunns pulp mill assessment process had failed to adequately assess key areas of concern, such as the impact on the Tamar Valley air shed and on the Bass Strait marine environment.

Greens Environment and Coastal Protection spokesperson Cassy O’Connor MP said there are serious concerns that if approved, 23 – 51 gigalitres of industrial effluent would be released into the fragile marine environment of Bass Strait per year by the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.

Ms O’Connor also urged Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke MP to put the health of Bass Strait, the nearby beaches and fisheries industry before the corporate interests of Gunns Limited. Mr Burke is due to make his decision on the final three permits tomorrow.

“As we have said since the beginning – this is the wrong mill in the wrong place. It’s wrong for Tasmania in every way.” Ms O’Connor said.

“The potential effects on the marine environment from the effluent spewing out from this proposed mill was inadequately assessed in 2007 and remains so to this day.”

“Billions of litres of effluent would be released into Bass Strait, damaging the marine environment, beautiful local beaches and local fisheries industry.”
“Gunns’ own documentation notes that the proposed mill’s effluent would contain 160 ‘chemicals of interest’, including highly toxic dioxins , furans and sterols, which will be dumped via Gunns’ pipeline into the relatively shallow and circulating water body.” [1]

“The Tasmanian Greens again reiterate their call to Minister Burke to be a true Minister for the Environment and to put the wellbeing of Bass Strait, the industries and recreational areas that it supports, ahead of the corporate interests of Gunns.” Ms O’Connor said.

[1] Environment Tasmania report, “The Proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill: Risks to Tasmania’s Marine and Coastal Values”: February 2011

SAW LOG STOCKPILES STRENGTHEN NEED FOR FORESTRY MORATORIUM

Continued Drive of Roads Causing Continued Damage to High Conservation Forests Resulting in Large Stockpiles of Sawlog

Kim Booth MP
Greens Forests spokesperson

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Premier to explain why neither she nor the Minister for Forests have formally directed Forestry Tasmania to implement the agreed moratorium due to begin in a few days, and also why continued logging of high conservation forests is resulting in large sawlog stockpiles.

Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said if Labor allowed the historic opportunity presented by the Forest Principles to collapse, global markets would force a transition in Tasmania’s forest sector.  This would be done without compassion and would leave vulnerable workers and businesses more exposed than would a managed transition.

“The Premier’s failure to require the Minister to instruct Forestry Tasmania to implement the agreed moratorium and end the constant logging of high conservation forest, is now resulting in large stockpiles of sawlog, and is out of step with the good faith shown by the Forest Principles signatories,” Mr Booth said.

“The question is, will the Premier actually act on this or will she be just like her predecessors, and allow Forestry Tasmania to run forest policy in this State.”

“Unless the Premier stands by the previous Premier who stood side by side with Mr Burke and made that commitment then is there any statement on forests from Labor that can be believed?”

“Labor and Liberals’ failure to recognise the financial collapse of the native forest sector is just prolonging the crisis facing logging contractors who are being forced into remaining in an unviable industry.”

“Why is the Minister forcing contractors to move from the north into coupes where there is already massive stockpiles of mill logs starting to split in the sun?”

“All signatories to the ground-breaking Forest Principles of Agreement support the implementation of the moratorium however it requires political will to make it happen.”

“Tasmania stands on the verge of really making a difference here.  Now is the time for the protection of our high conservation value forests and restructuring of the timber industry to put it onto a sustainable footing, but it needs Labor to seize the moment to get this fundamental first step in place,” Mr Booth said.

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MEDIA RELEASE 9 March 2011
Environment groups urge Burke to reject current pulp mill proposal

Environment groups have urged Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to reject Gunns’ current proposal to build a pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley.

“Environment Tasmania believes the current proposal for the pulp mill is totally unacceptable as it proposes to use native forests, it involves significant pollution of a pristine marine environment in Bass Strait and it has failed to gain a social licence from the community,” said Dr Phill Pullinger, Director of Environment Tasmania.

“The Federal Environment minister, Tony Burke, has before him crucial decisions relating to the mill’s proposed effluent outfall and issues about wood supply – and we urge him to not approve poor conditions – but the question of social licence is not something the federal minister can resolve,” said Don Henry, Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“It is the responsibility of the two Governments to deliver a legitimate, independent, and transparent process, with public participation, to assess the impacts of any major development, including the Tamar Valley Mill,” said Lyndon Schneiders on behalf of the Wilderness Society.

“The fast tracked and discredited Tasmanian process put in place for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill in 2007 has only delivered division and community opposition,” Mr Schneiders said.

The environment groups noted the Tasmanian Greens’ attempt to repeal the pulp mill legislation, saying this move highlighted the need for the proponents to understand the project does not have a social licence or any form of genuine community support.

Last week Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced a week’s extension to the deadline for decision declaring that the company was seeking more stringent environmental controls.

Phill Pullinger, Environment Tasmania
Lyndon Schneiders, TWS
Lindsay Hesketh, ACF