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Dover Proposed Woodchip Facility

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Tags: Southern Woodchip Port, Woodchips

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Madam Speaker, I rise to speak today for residents in the Dover community, for families and tourism business operators, for single people and for organisations who are at the moment living in fear of a proposed woodchip export facility. This is a major deviation from the future Dover residents were expecting. This is a complete departure from the sustainable jobs industry they have been working hard to create over the last five years.

Anyone who knows the history of Dover knows it has been through tumultuous times with many different industries that have come and built up to massive proportions, such as the abalone industry. One woman whose whole family has lived for 60 years from the abalone industry talks about the bottom of Port Esperance once being a carpet of abalone where people used to simply dive down and pick them up. There is nothing to be seen of that industry these days.

Similarly, other people have spoken to me about the history of the logging industry in their area and the terrible divisions and the dark, dark place they were in towards the end of the period of the logging industry there. They talk about the hope of often women who have tourism businesses, but men too, who have turned the corner and understand that the future of Dover rests in its extraordinary wilderness and its incredible wild places. It is on the brink of the World Heritage Area. It has tourism businesses which are thriving now on nature-based tourism that are building their name on the clean beauty of Port Esperance.

Into this space, this state Government is wilfully supporting a woodchip export facility which is not the small-scale facility it claims to be. Instead, it is setting itself up as a massive southern woodchip port. It will be the base to restart the native forest logging industry. It is planned on a scale which is impossible to believe that it can be contracted to a tiny woodchip facility. Instead, the evidence from the proponent himself, who spoke to the Dover community where more than 200 people turned up before Christmastime to a public meeting, admitted the scale of the forestry operations that will be required. The radius of 180 kilometres where wood will be taken from clearly makes it the case that wood will be being sought from the hills around Cygnet, from the Derwent Valley, from the hills of Mountain River and Crabtree and the Snowy Mountain Ranges. These are the places that are now vulnerable - private properties as well as public forestry lands.

The Huon Valley Council which will make this decision has just one person sitting in the role of an administrator, a woman who has admitted on the public record that she supports a southern port and supports the logging industry.

People ask reasonable questions about this Liberal Government, about why they took the Glenorchy Council to an election in January and did not take the Huon Valley Council to the same election. We have no elected representatives to speak for the Dover and Huon Valley residents who want to make their voice known about this incredibly serious large development that will go any day to the Huon Valley Council for its deliberation.

The future that the people in Dover talk about is one of nature-based tourism that is sustainable. They want industry based on the future, not on a logging industry which is about automation, a decreasing number of jobs, logging native forests and releasing carbon dioxide. None of these things are a plan for the future. A plan for the future is enhancing jobs in a tourism sector which is rich in jobs if we give it the love and planning and intervention it needs. There has been no support for any of the businesses that have established in Dover in that tourism area, none whatsoever. They have done it from their own hard work. These are the people that the Liberal Party should be supporting. These are the people who this Government should be standing up for, people who have small businesses that are employing people right now. People in the fishing industry down there are concerned about massive biosecurity threats as these huge ships come in, dock in Port Esperance and have to release bilge water. 

This is hugely concerning and we have a situation where residents not just in Dover but throughout the valley are looking at a huge increase in logging trucks. This has all been hidden. We are led to believe from the developer that they will just be wandering through the back forestry roads around Geeveston. Well, maybe the trucks with the woodchips that are going to come from Ta Ann to Port Esperance will go on the back roads, but all the trucks that will be taking trees to Ta Ann, to Southwood, are going to be travelling all the roads of the Huon Valley and the Derwent Valley, over the Plenty link road where the money was spent to upgrade the Plenty link road. For what purpose? Not for tourists but for a special deal. 

The people in Dover and the Huon Valley want to know what this Liberal Government is subsidising this company for. What subsidies are being provided? What roads will be used? What forests are going to feed the maw of Southwood and woodchip to go in the back of trucks to head down to Port Esperance and to sit in a massive pile which will obscure the beauty of Port Esperance and be a blight on a landscape that could be the beauty tourists come to see?