The credibility of the Bartlett Government has again been undermined by its action today extending the expiry date of the fast-tracked pulp mill permits, according to the Wilderness Society.

“Premier Bartlett has not only stepped over his line in the sand, he has washed it away completely. He has let down the Tasmanian public who want to see an end to the pulp mill debacle,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

Over a year ago, the Premier set a deadline after which his government’s support for the mill was supposed to end.

From November 30 (2008), government permits and involvement in the project would end unless Gunns had achieved “real” finance and “real progress” on construction.[1]

“Premier Bartlett has backflipped on his commitment to Tasmanians and is now prepared to legislate extensions to the pulp mill permits, as opposed to deliver the promised end to permits,” continued Mr Bayley.

“This is yet another special deal for a company that appears to exert inappropriate influence on the Government.”

“Last year the Premier promised Tasmanians certainty on the future of the pulp mill by Christmas. As yet another Christmas approaches, Premier Bartlett is throwing another lifeline to Gunns and extending the uncertainty and confusion the community is feeling about this mill proposal.

“Tasmanians deserve an accountable government which makes positive policy decisions in the best interests of Tasmania’s future. The impact of this pulp mill on Tasmania’s native-forests and climate change has never been assessed and many believe it would have been rejected long ago if proper processes had been followed.”

The Wilderness Society called on the opposition parties to oppose the legislation.

[1] The Australian – 1 July 2008
Vica Bayley, Wilderness Society