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Tasmania sells out Tamar wineries as WA moves to protect Margaret River wine region

Just as the Tasmanian government has sold out the tourism and fine foods and wines industries in the Tamar Valley, the EPA in WA this week has rejected a coal mine 15km from Margaret River wine region to protect the area's social fabric.

"WA Premier Colin Barnett said last year that whilst his government was pro mining and predevelopment, he recognised there was a potential conflict of interest between a mine and the character of Margaret River.

"Local residents have opposed the underground mine because of concerns about ground water contamination and the loss of reputation.

"Why is it that the WA Premier can see the importance of Margaret River to WA tourism and wine industries and Tasmania's Premier Lara Giddings cannot see the same conflict of interest between a huge polluting, stinking pulp mill and the Tamar Valley wine industry?

"The Tamar Valley has thirty wineries on its wine route and many more businesses dependent on the half a million visitors who visit the Tamar Valley each year. Furthermore the Tamar Valley wineries are a critical component of Tasmania's fine wine state branding," Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.

The WA EPA said,
"Even though some of the significant impacts, or risks, may be presented as being manageable because of their low probability of occurring, the environmental consequences of some low probability event may be so serious, widespread or irreversible that the proposal taken as a whole, on balance, presents unacceptable risks to important environmental values, and thus makes the proposal environmentally unacceptable."

"Rotten egg gas stench, organochlorines into Bass Strait, noise above the set limits, and log trucks on the roads are not manageable or of low probability, these are real impacts and high risks and make the pulp mill environmentally unacceptable by the same logic, if the planning process is not corrupted.

"Just as Western Australians think that Margaret River is worth fighting for, Tasmanians think that the Tamar Valley must be protected," Senator Milne concluded.

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