Bruce Felmingham who is principle consultant with IMC-LINK has continued on with his anti green, pro Tamar Valley pulp mill argument in in his Opinion column in this weeks Sunday Tasmanian on page 19.
This weeks column demonstrates he can only see the pulp mill and forestry debate from only one perspective. He writes “Those among the 80 per cent of Tasmanians who did not vote Green at the last state election and those opposed to Green philosophies in general will certainly see successful compromise as a remote possibility.”
Well Bruce I voted Green and I also see it as a remote possibility. Why do you think it is only the pro forestry sector that believe there is no hope for the peace talks? Yes it is unfortunate that the Wilderness Society pulled out of the talks last week. But who do the Wilderness Society represent? I voted Green but I am not a member of the Wilderness Society. So the Wilderness Society is not representative of all Green voters.
This comment also implies that 80% of voters are for the pulp mill. Well the last state election was not a referendum on the mill. There are many Tasmanians who are aganst the mill who would never vote green because they either oppose their left wing policies on other issues or were concerned about a hung parliament. In fact a recent survey conductued by Gunns Ltd reported here on May 12 “New report shows Gunns pulp mill is on the nose” shows 40% of Tasmanians are against the mill and a further 23% were neutral, only 37% support the mill.
He also goes on to say “It seems that differing approaches to the trade-off agreed to the statement of principles between the protection of native forest and a plantation based pulp mill is a step too far for a united green front on this issue” I have to agree with him on this point. But the agreement is only to a pulp mill not the pulp mill in its current form. Yes there is no way the current pulp mill in it current form and on its proposed site will ever get a social license from the community in general so there is no hope of getting it from green groups.
There is also little hope of obtaining peace if organised thuggery by forestry workers turning up and disrupting peaceful information sessions similar to what was held at the Huon Valley Environment Center last week. Read the story here https://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/05/20/3222344.htm so it is not just one side that is to blame. If the forestry industry is genuine about peace then why did they not pull out of the high conservation forests in March as promised in the agreement? They need to show genuine good faith and leave these areas as there are plenty of less controversial areas they can log to supply existing contracts until an agreement is reached but they continue to chomp on through our precious forests clearing what they can while they still can.
Also Bruce if this pulp is going to be such an economic boom to this state why can’t Gunns Ltd get financial backing or find a joint venture partner? The mill has been approved so why not build it? Time is running out the entire pulp mill permit lapses if the project is not substantially commenced before the end of the period of four years from the pulp mill permit coming into force; that is, by 30 August 2011. There are a lot of dirty companies and banks out there in this world who do not care about the environment just making money and not one of them want to touch the mill. The reason is that our woodchips are now uncompetitive with cheaper Asian woodchips because Asia has moved to a plantation based industry which produces higher yields than native forest. They also have much cheaper labor. Green groups have been warning the forestry industry this day was coming for years but they refused to listen and continued to chomp through the very heart, lungs and sole of this land and now that things have fallen apart they are on their knees begging for help from taxpayers.
Anyway I am getting sidetracked here. So if a pulp mill is built here in Tasmania and then another bigger better mill is built in Asia that has access to these cheaper woodchips, that is geographically closer to these woodchips and closer to the export market and will also have cheaper labor to operate the mill. The environmental standards in Asia will probably be lower than Tasmania also. So what will happen when the Asian pulp mill comes on line and can produce pulp cheaper than we can? The mill wiil start to loose money and Gunns will have to put out its hand yet again for more handouts to keep it running. This will not be our economic saviour but economic doom for this state as all Tasmanians taxpayers will have to subsidise the mill when we should be subsidising clean green industries to maintain our clean green image.