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Leaked Documents Reveal Liberal Involvement in Dover Port

5 Jul 2018

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens’ Member for Franklin

A leaked Development Application and correspondence received under Right to Information by the Greens reveal active collusion by the Liberal Government in the Dover woodchip port proposal.

The documents show regular contact between Forestry Tasmania and the proponent from August last year, despite the Liberals’ claims the project had no government involvement.

The Hodgman Government is up to its neck, secretly greasing the wheels of a private forestry company’s bid for the proposed woodchip port at Dover.

The Premier, and local Member, has repeatedly claimed his government has not been involved in Southwood Fibre’s woodchip export facility development. These documents prove Will Hodgman has not been honest with Tasmanians.

Liberal ministers have been involved in planning incursions into the World Heritage Area, establishing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Parks about intense B-double truck traffic in the Esperance Conservation Area, the construction of two new roads and plans to widen four more. Their claims to be at arms-length from the process are a sham.

Minister Barnett’s office denied the Greens’ request for a briefing on the woodchip proposal, stating the only government involvement in the project had been to sign “an Agreement to Lease for the proposed site at Strathblane”. The RTI documents even show that request for a briefing, and the reasons for its refusal, being checked off with Forestry Tasmania.

This evidence of government support for the Dover woodchip port raises more questions about the conditions in the Deed of Sale for 29,000ha of publicly-owned forests to Reliance Forest Fibre last year.

Reliance has clear links to Southwood Fibre – yet the Premier today refused to release the deed’s conditions to prove it doesn’t contain a guarantee of support for a southern port.

Instead of stitching up the deal for a divisive woodchip port behind closed doors, Premier Hodgman should be honest about his government’s intentions. He must front his constituents and explain why he supports a divisive, unsustainable and archaic industry instead of their interests.