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Courtney Must Withhold Land Consent for Woodchip Port Until After Council Elections

3 May 2018

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Member for Franklin

The Minister responsible for Tasmania’s Crown Lands, Sarah Courtney, today confirmed landowner’s consent was being considered by her government for the southern woodchip port. 

The proposal would transfer woodchips from a mountainous pile into huge ships docked in stunning Port Esperance.

A development application for a southern woodchip facility is expected to be advertised for public display by the Huon Valley Council any day. The application, however, requires ‘provisional’ consent from the government in order for it to be submitted to council.

If the application gets that consent, it will be up to Huon Valley Council’s sole Administrator to approve the proposal, or not.  One person does not a democratic process make.

Huon Valley residents and all Tasmanians need a range of voices to represent their interests in this major planning decision. In the interests of proper and democratic process, Minister Courtney must withhold landowner consent until after October’s Local Government election.

Mrs Taylor, who is on the public record in support of a southern woodchip port and of the native forestry industry, yesterday said there is no difference between one person or a whole council making a planning approval decision. This is a decision on a major project that could impact on the whole region, not a garden shed.

This is not a planning assessment for small residential land change, but a woodchip export development that would take chipped native trees from a 180km radius, and transform locals’ lives and nature tourism businesses in the region.

Local residents must have a say, and the Liberals must ensure that occurs by waiting until after October’s Local Government elections to sign off on land use.