Tasmanian Times


George Town backs the mill

ABC Online

GOERGE TOWN residents have narrowly voted in support of Gunns’ controversial northern Tasmanian pulp mill. Mill opponents forced the council to hold the poll and 64% of George Town voters responded. Of those, just over 52% were convinced the mill would not have a net adverse effect on their social, economic and environmental well-being. Between 53% and 56% responded ‘Yes’ when questioned whether they agreed with the assessment process, the type of mill and its location in the Tamar Valley. That has disappointed but not deterred mill opponent Jim Welsh. “There’s still enough people there against the pulp mill to say, ‘Well we need to work harder in future’.” Ros Lawrence from the George Town business group Facts wants opponents to accept the result. Read more here

And, have your say: After the 6pm news on Radio National, tonight (Wed): Australia Talks … this week’s topic is the Tassie pulp mill.

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  1. Tony Saddington

    February 10, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    “Not a Puppet”. I think you might like to check out the predicted deaths in Gunn’s IIS.( Vol.15. Append.#43. page 111.). It lists the expected increase in road deaths at approx .50 per annum, ( go figure!), if the mill is built. It does stress that it is difficult to predict accurate fatality figures.
    For traffic movements, Keith Midson, Gunn’s expert witness, provides interesting figures – (try Google).
    As I have stated on previous posts, fatality figures mean nothing, until it is someone close to you.
    The “TERNZ”(NZ), report also lists log truck rollovers and infrastructure damage,(courtesy of Deutche Bank studies). Jim Cox was slow to acknowledge this work, however an independent study, commisioned by his Dept mirrored TERNZ findings.
    According to TERNZ, each fully laden log truck does the same amount of damage as 160,000 family cars. Road and bridge maintenance will be constant.
    So my point is this.. Who will pick up the tab on each road death and injury? Who will pay for infrastructure damage caused by each log truck?
    How can this be a good thing for Georgetown and Tassie long term?

  2. Not A Puppet

    February 10, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    OK Ros Lawrence I will accept the results and believe every word you say and rant and rave about how good the pulp mill is…
    Who do you think we are? We’re not puppets like the rest of you that somehow believe this mill WONT have adverse affects on our lives??? Wake up to yourself, wasnt there a report undertaken by the Government/Gunns that stated how many more log truck accidents there would be when the mill goes in? You think that doesn’t affect you?

  3. Malcolm

    February 7, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    As a George Town Council rate payer by virtue of ownership of a rural property it seems pretty clear to me that the only people in the municipality in favour of the mill are those who expect to gain some (short term) financial benefit through their mainly George Town based businesses together with those people who are employed in the timber/logging industry itself and are unaware of the potential risks as they receive all their “facts” (sic) about the pulp mill from the blatantly pro Gunns local rag and Gunns themselves.

    These people couldn’t care less about the big long term picture and the adverse impact of the mill on other businesses and the inevitable destruction of the environment and quality of life which is already happening as other posters have testified.

    However George Town only represents a tiny fraction of the Tasmanian electorate and it is obvious that the vast majority of the population is still totally against the mill (and the woodchipping of our native forests for that matter) despite the massive Government backed propaganda campaign in its favour.

    Maybe it’s time for TAP to join forces with Blue Wedge, Sea Shepherd and the like to force our hapless, spineless Minister for the Environment to live up to his title by taking action to protect our unique natural environment before it’s too late.

  4. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 6, 2008 at 2:03 am

    “From one who knows”, my use of the term “state” in the previous sentence actually denoted not the State of Tasmania, but the general concept of “the state” as a coercive unit extracting taxes from the citizens and spending those taxes. It’s true that “state” in this context is usually used in the sense nation-state, but because my political philosophy background leads me to be particularly concerned about issues of public vs private moneys, I am prone to use it to refer to the funds of subunits of the nation state (including such things as council rates) as well. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that as a reply, but I doubt that political philosophy is on the list of things that you know intimately!

    As for (i), I can understand the frustration of those who are confronted with psephelogically dubious statements about the popularity of an idea and wished to put it to the test. Yet my point is that the result of the attempt may well be a public relations flop. Also, I wonder how many have been exaggerating the mill’s *opposition* level and can’t do that anymore! Are you going to tell me there are none? 😉

  5. From one who knows

    February 6, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Wasn’t state monies expended on the elector poll. The Electoral Commission will be charging the full (probably $20k) cost to George Town Council ratepayers.

    Elector Poll was forced because:
    i) Mayor Burt has been exaggerating the level of support for the mill within his municipality in just about every media release he made last year. He can’t do that any more.

    ii) Attempts to get the pre-election ruling clique of George Town councillors to hold this elector poll in conjunction with the October council election, were foiled by various underhand tactics.

    So Dr Bonham, now that I see what you’ve got to say about something I know intimately, I’m going to be a lot more wary of anything else you comment on in future.

  6. Dr Kevin Bonham

    February 5, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    Valleybotcher (#1) says “George Town is one of the smallest councils in the state”. Yes and no – being 21st out of 29 by enrolment it is certainly on the smaller side as councils go, but its voter base of 5035 dwarfs the genuine mini-councils like Flinders (774), King (1305), Tasman (2252) and Central Highlands (2756).

    I am already amused by the damage control and backpedalling from some opponents of the mill. If George Town is such a small and irrelevant council then why force state monies to be expended on gauging the opinion of its voter base? If it is so small and irrelevant then even an overwhelming rejection of the mill by its voters would surely not carry much meaning either. And if George Town is the only place the mill would pass, why put it to a test that doesn’t help the case of the groups opposing it?

    I suspect that those who took advantage of the elector poll provisions to force this poll to be held miscalculated, and believed the poll would deliver a result against the pulp mill. Instead they got a slap in the face, albeit not a conclusive one as the four polls were all rather close.

    Brenda’s making excuses as usual; any voter who believes that the newspapers may not be telling the full story has plenty of other avenues to get opinions on it from. I suspect the residents of George Town got more than their fill of the opinions of both sides in the leadup to the vote.

    Once again, since any expression of reservation about the tactics of the anti-mill lobby results in being cast as a supporter of the mill, I should stress that I have no advocative view on the mill itself and my main concern with the debate is the psephology of it. I also stress the usual disclaimer that all posts I make here represent my views and not necessarily those of any other entity.

  7. Wake up Tassie

    February 5, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    What a great program tonight on ABC Radio National – Australia Talks

    This, just as we had to listen to over the last 2 to 3 month with terrible pain, the Tasmanian ABC Radio crews lost their guts,(or whatever excuse they may have later on), here we had the local voices on Australia’s National Radio !
    Compare this to Tim Cox’s Tasmornings and ABC Radio Tasmania Afternoon program lost their energy, their voice, their sole, but on national radio the demonstration was loud and clear tonight:”
    No Pulp Mill in the Tamar Valley!!!!!!!!!!!

    Barry (b) Chipman may have had his fun and drinks together with JohnPaul and Terry Edwards, but this Mill will not be build!!!!!!!!!
    Because: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/australiatalks/stories/2008/2154837.htmhttp://www.abc.net.au/rn/australiatalks/stories/2008/2154837.htm
    1. The majority of Tasmanians don’t want the mill.
    2. Dont want the enormous amount of co2 released.
    3. Don’t want the enormous fires after clearfelling and plantation harvesting.
    4. Don’t want the polution going into Bass Strait.
    5. Don’t want the dioxin going into Bass Strait.
    6. Dont want the Bass Strait fishing industry jeopardised.
    7. Don’t want the air polution in the Tamar Valley, or airborne dioxin.
    8. Don’t want the smell.
    9. Don’t want the wine industry of the Tamar Valley jeopardised.
    10.Don’t want the tourist industry jeopardised.
    11,Don’t want the visual polution of the mill in the valley.
    12.Don’t want the washoff from the factory going into the river.
    13.Don’t want the increase in asthma etc for our children.
    14.dont want the logging of old growth forrests or any forrests, old previously logged.
    15.Dont want the atrozine, symozine or the toxic suffactants required by the plantations.
    16.Don’t want the 10/80 poison.
    17.Don’t want the water from clear felling washing down the North Esk and South Esk into the Tamar Basin in Launceston.
    18.Don’t want to have to pay to have it removed.
    19.Don’t want the log trucks on our roads.
    20.Don’t want increased road deaths caused by the log trucks.
    21.Dont want to pay for the damage to our roads caused by the log trucks.
    22.Don’t want to have to subsidise the mill financially.
    23.Don’t want to lose water for the farmers, rivers etc that will be soaked up by fast growing young plantations.
    24.Don’t want to fight the fires that will race through the plantations.
    25.Don’t want to lose food producing farms to plantations to feed the mill.
    26,Don’t want to pay higher prices for the food when the farms are gone.
    27.Don’t want to lose our rural people and communities.
    28.Don’t want to see acres and acres of monoculture. (Don’t expect the tourists will either.)
    29.Don’t want my taxes going to subsidise the forestry firms and not going to hospitals.
    30..Don’t want the undemocratic politicians that approved the mill against the wishes of the majority.
    Do want:
    1. Clean green industry.
    2. A clean viable fishing and acquaculture.
    3. A viable tourist industry.
    4. Do want clever, innovative, clean industries.
    5. Do want politicians who understand that democracy is the will of the majority while protecting the many minorities.

  8. don davey

    February 5, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Precisely ! no one want’s it ,those who vote for it get to take advantage of a boom in home sales which i’m informed is way below average and they can then take off for healthier pastures ! the other half figure that the weather will move any polution and odour up the valley to Lonnie and its environs.

    Very neighbourly !

  9. Lester Barker

    February 5, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Congratulations to all the battlers down there at Bell Bay. Congratulations to Barry, Terry, Scotty and Mayor Burke. But most of all congratulations to australia finest, brightest and most hardest working blokes.
    This overwhelming victory for Gunns and the heartland community is a victory over the greed and tyranny of the anti-industry Greens. A victory for the good folk who believe and trust in Tasmanian industry and government. This is also a turbo-diesel charged victory for blokes who dont want politically correct softcocks and the Erin Brockoviches of this world running their lives.
    The Georgetown electer poll result is a continuation of a long line of victorious poll results for Gunns and the pulp mill. How many more polls do the greens need to prove, once and for all, that most Australians and families and businesses at bell bay want Gunns? The people of the Tamar Valley heartland have spoken in overwhelming numbers for the Georgetown mill. Even Peter Garrett wants Gunns pulp mill!

    This elector poll is very much about Georgetown determining Tasmania’s future, not wishy-washy winemakers and organic peanut growers and certainly not Latte sippers in Hobart and Launceston. It is also a clear confirmation that the fluoro vote is alive in well in the Tamar Valley capital. See, just when you thought the Aussie bloke was dead he gets back up to fight another day! Fact is every man has the right to have someone who will give him a job. Blokes who have been through the revolving door of big greedy corporations need another job.

    Its no used going back to university when you are 35 and got 3 kids and a mortgage, a boat, 2 cars, 4 TV’s, 2 stereos and whatever to pay off. Georgetown residents are saying that families want those little things that you latte sippers take for granted – like a plasma television or a new couch. A boat or a new car. Whats the used of having clean air and squeaky clean health if you are just stuck inside all day with nothing to do? You greens got your EPA, this, that and the other. What more do you want? You know what people around Georgetown are saying? They say “The government wouldnt let them build it if it wasnt safe”. See people thats trust. This poll result is a victory over sinicism.
    I guarantee you greens that the blokes down at bell bay who have just delivered you a resounding defeat know more about this pulp mill than all the other dole bludging midstrength Tamar Valley trendies would their own mother! They know what they are asking for. Thats because they already work in the industry and they dont mind a bit of dust and smoke. They know when to put the mask on and when to take it off. Most of all though they rely on industry to put food on their tables.

    Just look at Georgetown today. This is your future, our jobs. Remember people of Tasmania, from Geeveston to Georgetown, all roads lead to the pulp mill. Get on board or get out of the way. Boy Georgetown blokes are gunna celebrate tonight. Watch out ladies!

  10. Dave Groves

    February 5, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    With unemployment in George Town apparently around 45% and vested groups scrambling to find support for the proposed pulp mill, this touted landslide result for the pro mill lobby is indeed a blessing, perhaps a miracle of sorts.

    No doubt the there will be some serious singing and praising this Sunday in George Town.

    From all the polls, from all the questions and queries this result that tipped two percent toward the vested interests is far and away the highest result they have ever seen and will go down as a record to be held in esteem.

    I imagine even the spin doctors will be blown away by such a clear cut result.

    Down the track I can see the stretched limo stopping at all the pubs in George Town, rounding up those who would like a fat wallet job at the mill and giving them and instant start.

    Soon the blades of no mercy will cut hard into the landscape with thanks from the mysterious shadow from the north rock.

    But what of the creatures who have no voice?
    They will be trembling with fear now the puppeteer’s shadow has dropped the guillotine on their furry lives……A swift and painless death for our native wildlife or perhaps a liberal dose of that famous Tasmanian standard, the blessed blue carrot?

    The show rolls on…….

  11. Brenda Rosser

    February 5, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    To get a fair idea of what support there is for the mill would require that the state papers be independent of this issue. the media needs to provide accurate assessments of the economic, environmental and social impacts of the proposed mill.

    We know that the same commercial interests in Gunns Ltd also own significant shares in the Australian and Tasmanian media.

    so, clearly the conditions for an informed vote on the mill have not been met.

  12. Tony Saddington

    February 5, 2008 at 11:48 am

    At a recent BBQ, the Pulp mill discussion came around. A bloke who lives and works in G’town told me how his name had been added to the Pro mill petition that was lodged with Council.

    His employer had been badgering him to add his name. When he refused to do so, his employer did it for him and advised him later.

    The employer used the most effective tool available, – fear. All employees were warned that the mill was vital, without it most will be out of work.They were told it was in their interests to do so.

    This is what G’town is hoping for, unemployment will magically cease and life will improve. The reality will be that short term, unemployment will marginally ease and lifestyle will forever be ruined.

  13. Valleywatcher

    February 5, 2008 at 9:59 am

    Well, if the pulp mill was going to get a small thumbs up, the only place it was going to happen was in George Town! I believe that there was a fair bit of monstering of the locals by the pro-mill lobby. These are desperate people. George Town is one of the smallest councils in the state – I wouldn’t glean too much from this result, and it is certainly nowhere near the 90% support that Gunns claims to have!

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