Water Week

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98.7 per cent of poll respondents say “No” to Tasmanian pulp mill

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

An online reader poll this week had revealed an unprec­edented level of opposition to the pro­posed Tasmanian pulp mill, reported the Wentworth Courier (12/9/2007, p. 7).

Rigorous assessment to be undertaken: “There were 776 responses to our question ‘Should the pulp mill pro­ceed in the Tamar Valley?’ with 98.7 per cent of voters answering ‘No’,” the newspaper reported. “In response to the poll, the federal Environment Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said voters in Wentworth would expect him to undertake a com­prehensive environmental assessment of the project. He said his extended six-week deadline had allowed for that. ‘The assessment process I have put in place with an independent review by the chief scientist has now been acknowledged, even by opponents of the pulp mill, as a thorough and rigor­ous one,’ Mr Turnbull said.”

Fast-tracking challenged: “The figures echo a recent Newspoll in the northern Tasmanian electorate of Bass,” the Wentworth Courier said. “Of a sample of 400 voters the poll found that more than half were against the construction of the mill. Debate over the $2 billion Gunns pulp mill has been played out in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate after a critical advertisement funded by businessman Geoffrey Cousins. Mr Cousins’ advertisement in the Courier challenged the MP over fast-tracking the environmental assess­ment process of the mill.”

Mill “will have no significant impact” say owners: “Pulp mill company Gunns responded with its own full-page advertisement last week, claiming the residents of Wentworth were being subjected to a campaign of misinformation,” the newspaper reported. “Gunns said the project would have no signifi­cant impact on the local environment or the tourism and wine industries. In a forum at Waverley RSL last week, Greens leader Bob Brown con­demned Gunns’ comments, saying the mill was ‘an absolute assault on the atmosphere of this planet’.”

Wentworth Courier, 12/9/2007, p. 7

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