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Pulp mill approval process a sham: time for another Franklin Dam movement!

“The approval of Gunns pulp mill by the Federal Environment Minister is a total sham”, said Susan Austin, the Socialist Alliance’s candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Denison.

The approval requires that Gunns carry out further studies on the likely impacts to threatened species and conducts more extensive modeling of ocean and likely effluent movements before construction can commence.

“How could Turnbull approve the mill before we have available all of the information about the impacts this project would have on local wildlife and marine life?” Austin asked.

Austin also stressed that Dr Jim Peacock, the Chief Scientist charged with making the report, was not required to include in his assessment impacts the mill would have on other important areas.

“Under the terms given him by environment minister Malcolm Turnbull he could say nothing about increased logging of native forests, worsening air quality in the local area, more deaths caused by extra logging trucks on the roads, losses to the local economy and increases in carbon emission!

“And Labor’s formerly-green Peter Garrett was happy to acquiesce in this charade!”

Austin added that in an age of climate change no government should be allowed to ignore the greenhouse gas emissions such a large project would produce.

Mathew Holloway, Socialist Alliance candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Franklin commented: “This ravenous mill will use 80% native forests in the first five years of operation. It’s a major hypocrisy that the government is funding reforestation programs in Asia while at the same time refusing to protect forests in Tasmania.”

A new poll commissioned by the Wilderness Society on October 4 found that 56% of people in the area were opposed to the mill.

Holloway said: “This shows that Turnbull’s ‘democratic process’ is a joke. Liberal and Labor, state and federal, link arms, refuse to listen to the people, and give the wink to their big business masters like Gunns.”

The Socialist Alliance candidates pledged that their party would be “up to our neck” in the struggle to stop the pulp mill.

“This battle can be won”, Austin said. “Everyone remembers that official approval was given for the Franklin Dam, but after one year of river blockades and protests such approval counted for nothing and the dam was stopped.”

“Once again we have to build a people’s movement so large that it can´t be ignored”, Holloway concluded. “Let’s remember what happened to more recent official decision—that to privatise Snowy Hydro. Popular protest also put it into the dustbin of history: we will do the same with Gunns’ latest crime against our beautiful environment.”

For more information: Susan Austin on 0418 643 133, Matthew Holloway on 0419 582 372

Email: hobart@socialist-alliance.org

Web: www.socialist-alliance.org/tasmania

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