TAP Into A Better Tasmania expressed outrage today that community concerns have again been disregarded by Tasmania’s State Government.
Questions about the permit conditions for Gunns Ltd’s proposed Pulp Mill were raised with the Environmental Protection Authority over three months ago, but continue to remain largely unacknowledged by David Bartlett.
The legality of land clearance beyond the permit deadlines has also been criticised by members of the University of Tasmania’s Law Faculty.
“The clearing of vegetation from the mill site began in early August, and concerns were immediately expressed to the EPA, and to several key government ministers, querying the legality of the work. We are furious that despite loud warning bells, no-one was listening,” said TAP spokesman Tony Saddington.
“We have concerns that site work carried out by Gunns would contravene the Pulp Mill Assessment Act, given that Gunns have cleared vegetation without the necessary permits. David Bartlett has allowed destructive land clearing to take place while ignoring the community’s concerns, and with no suggestion Gunns should have penalties imposed for breaching permit conditions,” he continued.
TAP said the Government should have called for an immediate suspension of work at the Long Reach site until questions relating to permit issues had been addressed.
“David Bartlett is repeating the errors of his predecessor Paul Lennon in allowing expired permits to be revived through a fast-tracked extension. That Gunns have failed to attract finance, or the interest of a Joint Venture Partner is clearly shown by David Bartlett’s cynical extension of the time frame to 2011. But his decision has condemned Tamar Valley residents to a further two years of uncertainty and despair.
“If government arrogance and lack of adherence to proper process is what the community can look forward to, then our fears about this project would seem to be entirely justified. And the iniquitous PMAA prevents any right of appeal by any individual or business should the mill cause any harm whatsoever to their health or livelihoods,” said Mr Saddington
TAP is still waiting for answers to questions asked of senior ministers in relation to this issue.
TAP Into A Better Tasmania www.tapvision.info