07 November, 2011

Premier backs new mill

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), November 07, 2011

The Tasmanian Premier has confirmed she will back a new woodchip mill in the state's south.

Lara Giddings says her government will consider financially backing the construction of a new mill, if Triabunna does not open.

She did not rule out the possibility of exporting woodchips from Hobart's waterfront.

"I could not rule out that you'd never, ever, ever have a ship come to Hobart that didn't end up taking woodchips away."

But Ms Giddings wants Triabunna re-opened and has called on the managers and owners to advertise for tenders.

Manager Alec Marr says that can not happen because they can not secure a vital wharf lease from the state-owned Tasports.

The Premier says that is rubbish.

"What it shows to me is that they have no intention of opening this up."

The Government has also suggested the owners could sell back the mill to the industry.

Ms Giddings says Triabunna Investments should start advertising for tenders to operate the mill.

"We need an alternative export facility in the south of the state and if you can't have Triabunna Investments open their gates because they refuse to open their gates we have to look to alternatives."

"But the other solution, of course, is for Triabunna Investments to step out of this and perhaps look at selling back to industry," the Premier said.

At the weekend, Mr Marr asked the Premier to stop making public statements because it was undermining the process.

Greens Leader Nick McKim says the party would not support a single taxpayers dollar going into the construction of a new mill.

The forest industry has called for an end to the stalemate over mill's re-opening.

Barry Chipman from Timber Communities Australia says the stand-off is creating uncertainty in the industry.

"We really do need to get over this problem and again get Triabunna open again," he said.

"If that fails an export facility out of Hobart or again, let's turn that resource into bioenergy and use it locally in our local power grid."

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