Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke’s big mistake

“Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke is looking very foolish today having relied on partial and biased advice from Gunns and the CFMEU to endorse Gunns’ planned pulp mill,” said TAP Into a Better Tasmania spokesman, Bob McMahon.

“Tony Burke should know better than to rely on those with a conflict of interest for advice to get behind a project that has failed to analyse the risks and failed to make a proper business case,” Mr McMahon said.

“No reputable banker will touch the project and it has proved unacceptable everywhere else in the world", he continued.

The State and Commonwealth’s own RPDC assessment found the Gunns proposal critically deficient in eight areas. There has been no risk assessment to Treasury standards, no socio-economic and environmental analysis, and no analysis of the costs.

Even the assessment by Sweco Pic did not examine noise emissions, impacts on surface or estuarine waters, effects on flora and fauna, transport implications and social and economic effects, nor construction impacts, nor impacts from off-site infrastructure development such as the raw water supply pipeline, effluent pipeline or the quarry.

Mr McMahon said, “The federal Minister has gone out on a limb and ignored the agriculture and fisheries responsibilities of his own portfolio by publicly backing Gunns' proposed pulp mill for the Tamar Valley.”

At risk are many wine-making, organic food and horticultural small businesses that thrive in the region and 2600 tourism-related businesses in Launceston and Tamar Valley.

Risks to Tasmania’s fishing industry due to dioxin contamination from pulp mill effluent stand to cost the industry $693.5 million and 700 job losses over the life of the project (Tasmanian Round Table for Sustainable Industries Project www.lec.org.au).

"Tasmania's hard-won clean reputation as a producer of fine seafood, wine, and a range of high quality produce in the agricultural and horticultural industries, stands to be gutted by Burke’s unquestioning acceptance of biased lobbying by the CFMEU," Bob McMahon said.

Not one survey or poll conducted either statewide or nationally during the past five years showed majority support for the mill.

For further information contact:
Bob McMahon
Spokesperson for TAP Into a Better Tasmania

Email bob@orielstudio.com.au