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socialist alliance media release

Socialist Alliance opposes Gunns' pulp mill, calls for referendum

24 March 2011

Socialist Alliance condemns the recent decision by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to give final approval to Gunn's Tamar Valley pulp mill. Socialist Alliance also opposes the decision by the State government to continue propping up the mill by promising to build mill-related infrastructure for Gunns.

'We could never support the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, due to the corrupt nature with which it was approved,' said Susan Austin, Socialist Alliance spokesperson. 'In addition we oppose it because of its likely toxic effects on the environment and the community.'

Socialist Alliance joins with other community and environment groups in expressing grave concern about water usage, toxic effluent, odours, air pollution, greenhouse emissions, wood-fired power processes and the intensification of an already-harmful plantation industry in the state.

'The permits for the mill must be revoked by the state and federal governments. Approval for any pulp mill needs to pass a rigorous, independent scientific assessment, such as the RPDC,' Austin said.

'Further, we acknowledge that there have been serious social and environmental issues concerned with pulp mills in general, wherever they have been built and therefore we believe that this and all other pulp mill proposals should in addition be subjected to a Tasmania wide referendum*. This is a much more accurate way to determine the social license for any pulp mill and will allow everyone to have a say about whether we want a pulp mill or not,” said Austin.

Socialist Alliance also supports campaigns around the world by other communities who are also battling similar pulp mills.

'There will be no jobs on a dead planet. There are many ways that the government can support jobs and the environment, but supporting this toxic, job-poor project is definitely not one of them!' Austin concluded.

[Republished with permission]

*We do not believe this is a good idea. The people who albatrossed the PMAA upon us are capable of seeking a referendum offering the following three choices:

  • pulp mill at Longreach using plantation timber
  • pulp mill at Longreach using mix of plantation timber and native forest
  • pulp mill at Longreach using mix of native forest and the bleached bones of conservationists

Too bad if you don't want a pulp mill at Longreach.

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