Monday, 18 June 2007
Statements by Members
Bass Electorate: Proposed Pulp Mill
This afternoon I rise to speak about the pulp mill which Gunns proposes to build at Bell Bay Industrial Estate in my electorate. At the weekend, some 10,000 people from around the state rallied in Launceston to voice their concerns. I attended to listen. While I do not personally agree with everything that was said, I feel that the community deserves to have its concerns answered. People are being faced with so much information from the many sides in this debate that I have sympathy for anyone who does not know which voices to believe.
The government made a decision in May that the project would be a controlled action under the EPBC Act, meaning that it will require assessment and approval by the Australian government before it can proceed. I have been assured by the minister that, under the law, only if the development proposal is consistent with environmental guidelines can it go ahead. It must be made clear that the federal government has not changed legislation to get this project across the line and has continued to act within the letter and indeed the spirit of the law. Conversely, the Labor Party has handled this matter appallingly. Recent further demands by Labor that the federal government hurry up the assessment process are further proof of interference and are completely inappropriate. I never ignore people’s opinions, which is why I genuinely listened to the substantial expression of concern when I attended the City Park rally. The community supports a value-adding, job-creating pulp mill in principle, but the process and the people must be respected. (Time expired)