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Time for Governments to draw line under Pulp Mill saga; Time for Tasmania to move on

Australian Greens Senator Christine Milne today called on Federal Minister Peter Garrett to draw the same line under the Pulp Mill that Premier David Bartlett has promised, and to help Tasmania regain its global edge as a clean, green and clever state.

Senator Milne said, "Gunns has made fools of a succession of State and Federal Governments. It has toyed with the Tasmanian community and the integrity of our democracy. It's time for the umbilical cord of funding and favours to be cut.

"October the 4th is the deadline for the Pulp Mill's Environmental Impact Management Plan to be completed. It is clear that the modules submitted to date are grossly inadequate and cannot be approved.

"Minister Garrett must refuse any extension of the deadline and inform Gunns that he will not transfer any approvals that have been given to Gunns to a new joint venture.

"John Gay threw down the gauntlet when he threatened that, unless both governments gave full approval by 31 July 2007, the mill would not proceed. Both governments rolled over and compromised the assessment processes accordingly.

"13 months later, Gunns says it still doesn't have the money to build the mill and the evidence to support its claims regarding environmental compliance is still totally inadequate.

"Prime Minister Rudd and Minister Garrett now have a fantastic opportunity to work with Premier David Bartlett to protect Tasmania's native forests as carbon stores and for Tasmania to be front and centre of the Australian effort to make 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

"No-one should underestimate the enormous boost to Tasmania's global reputation, jobs and skills-base from becoming a leader in reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), putting our State at the cutting edge of climate solutions.

"Prime Minister Rudd and Premier Bartlett have this one window of opportunity to restore public faith in our democracy and to bring Tasmanians together around a positive vision for the future."

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