TCCI Calls for Support for Bell Bay Pulp MillTargeted News Service
HOBART, Australia, Aug. 13 -- The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued the following news release:
The Chairman of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andrew Heap, today called for Tasmanians to unite behind the Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill project.
Mr Heap said the $2 billion pulp mill would create thousands of jobs during construction, hundreds of long-term jobs when operating and could help lift the Tasmanian economy out of the doldrums.
"I acknowledge Gunns has been experiencing significant business issues, but Tasmania must not abandon the pulp mill while there is any prospect of making it happen.
"This project would deliver economic advances we have been searching for in Tasmania for generations, including downstream processing of raw materials and a value added boost to export income.
"The militant minority opposing the mill is desperate to perpetuate a myth that it does not have community support. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"The best yardstick of community attitudes to the pulp mill is that three out of every four people who voted in the last State Election voted for parties who supported the mill.
"Both the Liberal and Labor parties supported the mill. The Liberals received almost 125,000 votes and Labor more than 118,000. That's a total of more than 243,000 people who backed the pro-pulp mill parties.
"The Greens, who opposed the mill, received less than 70,000 votes."Mr Heap said that in view of this overwhelming show of public support for the mill, Gunns, which was doing no more than pursuing its legitimate commercial interests, was entitled to expect strong support to make the mill happen.
"Unfortunately, however, the noisy minority once again appears to be exercising undue influence.
"The Forests IGA process was initiated among other things to see whether an outcome could be achieved which would provide environmental backing for the pulp mill to proceed.
"That objective appears to have been lost along the way and the parties have acknowledged that the pulp mill has not even been on the table in the most recent rounds of talks.
"That is simply unacceptable. Tasmania and the business community cannot afford to sit back and allow these vigilante minorities to kill off another major investment project.
"Investment fuels business activity and business is the engine driver of the economy.
"We live in a competitive world and Tasmania cannot afford to entrench a reputation for investment risk.
"Without investment, Tasmania will simply perpetuate current trends where we have higher unemployment, lower earnings and more welfare dependency than the rest of Australia.
"Knee-jerk opposition to major investment projects has become the development hallmark of Tasmania over the past 25 years.
"We need to show the world that people can invest with confidence in this State. Ensuring the pulp mill goes ahead would be a great place to start."
Andrew Heap, Chair TCCI 0428 820 820
TNS MGD120817-JF78-3991630 StaffFurigay