The Senate has today has passed a motion calling upon the government to maintain the environmental requirement in the Gunns Pulp Mill approval that excludes wood sourced from native forests being used as feedstock.
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said, “The Australian Senate has sent a message to any potential pulp mill investors not to rely on native forest woodchips to prop up your business case".
“I am deeply concerned that a future mill owner and other timber industry special interests will lobby to get permission to use native forest material to supply a pulp mill, and that both Federal or state Liberal governments' would be more than happy to oblige.
“The proposed pulp mill does not have enough plantation feedstock material available to supply the project and this is a recipe for a return to the bad old days of forestry conflict and the destruction of what is unique to Tasmania.
“The Greens don’t support this pulp mill in the Tamar Valley and we will always fight to protect our high conservation value native forests.
“The message from the Australian Senate today to any prospective investors in this highly unpopular, risky project is that the Australian parliament will work to uphold federal protections that will prevent high conservation forests in Tasmania being used to prop up the viability of any future pulp mill.
“The Tasmanian Labor party is naïve if it doesn’t recognise this risk and is currently playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette with Tasmania’s world renowned protected forests by pushing this divisive project," Senator Whish-Wilson concluded.
Text of Senate Motion
ENVIRONMENT-TASMANIA-BELL BAY PULP MILL PROJECT
Senator Whish-Wilson, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 120-That the Senate-
(i) the conditions of the Gunns Pulp Mill approval (EPBC 2007/3385) by the then Minister for the Environment, on 10 March 2011, which requires `no wood sourced from native forests will be used by the Bell Bay pulp mill' ,
(ii) the Minister for the Environment (Mr Hunt) has confirmed the Government has asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Committee to delist 74 000 hectares of Tasmanian forest,
(iii) that with the support of the Liberal and Labor parties, the Tasmanian Parliament passed legislation in January 2014 to remove doubts about the validity of the permit for the Bell Bay Pulp Mill project; and
(b) calls on the Government to commit to maintain the environmental requirement in the Gunns Pulp Mill approval (EPBC 2007/3385) that excludes wood sourced from native forests being used as feedstock.
Question put and passed.