In Brief

June 12, 2015

Community still opposes pulp mill

Friends of the Tamar Valley and Pulp the Mill have responded to news that “at least one binding offer for the [Gunns pulp mill] licence from overseas” has been received, saying community opposition to the pulp mill is just as strong now as when the project was first proposed more than ten years ago.

“Any investor seriously considering purchasing the pulp mill licence and site should realise opposition to the Tamar Valley pulp mill certainly didn’t end with the collapse of Gunns, and there will continue to be strong and determined community resistance to any company with plans to build it,” said spokesperson Anne Layton-Bennett.

“Given Gunns’ timber assets have now been sold to New Forests company, who have repeatedly stated they have no interest in building a pulp mill, permits for the mill can only be considered all but worthless. With no ready access to plantation feedstock for a pulp mill mill how can any serious investor possibly consider it a viable prospect?”

“Tasmanians have been told countless times there are buyers ‘interested’ in the pulp mill, yet no serious investor has ever materialised. There’s a very good reason for that. Quite apart from the corrupted approval process the pulp mill never made economic sense, and no proper risk assessment has ever been undertaken.

“It’s time the pulp mill permits were declared void, and both KordaMentha and the major political parties recognised the pulp mill dream is over. It will never be accepted by the community, and for the majority of Tasmanians the pulp mill has been nothing but a ten-year nightmare.

“Any investor seriously considering purchasing the pulp mill licence and site should realise there will continue to be strong and determined community resistance,” said Layton-Bennett.

Community calls to replace Port Augusta power station with solar thermal

The Repower Port Augusta Alliance has called on the state government to invest in building solar thermal in Port Augusta following Alinta’s surprise announcement that it will close its Port Augusta coal-fired power stations and the associated Leigh Creek mine by 2018.

“Alinta has taken the community by surprise with this announcement and our thoughts are with the workers and their families on this difficult day. Alinta had the opportunity to work towards a clean energy transition in Port Augusta, but instead it looks like they’re going to cut and run, so we need the State Government to step up,” Repower Port Augusta Alliance spokesperson Dan Spencer said.

“Jay Weatherill must step in with urgent funding for solar thermal in Port Augusta, to create jobs in the wake of the huge job losses the closure of the coal station and mine will bring.

“After supplying power to the state for decades, Port Augusta deserves a managed transition to clean energy jobs. The community cannot be left high and dry by this.

“There is strong international investor interest in building solar thermal in Port Augusta.

“The state government needs to bring these people together with the community to find a solution for jobs and clean energy in Port Augusta,” spokesperson Dan Spencer said.

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