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MMG - Alternative Sites for Tailings Dam


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 24 June 2021

Tags: takayna / Tarkine

Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr GUTWEIN

Yesterday you took great delight in vilifying the Bob Brown Foundation over its scientifically legitimate method of tracking -

Government members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Ms O'Connor has the call.

Ms O'CONNOR - That is exactly right. It is the same method used by DPIPWE and, to an extent, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy, but go on, guffaw.

You took great delight in vilifying the Bob Brown Foundation over its scientifically legitimate method of tracking threatened and endangered species on the site of MMG's proposed toxic mine dump in takayna/the Tarkine. Tasmania Police has confirmed no offence was committed and has returned the cameras used by BBF.

As Premier, your words have real weight and consequence in the wider community. So when you, with no factual basis, demonise conservationists, it increases community tension and risk to individuals. Will you apologise to the Bob Brown Foundation for unjustly and dishonestly vilifying them in this place? Your own economic and social recovery advisory council highlighted the disconnect between the clean-green perception of Tasmania and the reality. A case in point is takayna, one of the world's last great wilderness areas, threatened by the policies of your Government, and now by a toxic mine dump. Why have you not stepped in to work with MMG on alternative sites for the company's new tailings dam?

 

ANSWER

Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for her question. The questions that I posed yesterday - and to be honest I do not have advice as yet that they have been answered - was did the Bob Brown Foundation possess the relevant authorisations to take wildlife under the Nature Conservation Act 2002? I do not know if that has been answered yet. Were the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act 1993 met? Was any permission sought to go onto the lease of the mining company?

Members interjecting.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. Member for Clark.

Mr GUTWEIN - I do not have advice on those matters as yet on. What concerns me is that once again you have demonstrated your reckless abandonment of the livelihoods of Tasmanians. That mine supports 400 jobs -

Mr Barnett - Five hundred.

Mr GUTWEIN - Five hundred jobs, thank you, minister for Mining. What you would seek to do is shut that mine down and stop those jobs.

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The Premier is misleading the House. We have asked him why he is not working with the company on alternative sites.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor. It is not a point of order.

Mr GUTWEIN - I am going to the nub of the issue. The nub of the issue is that the Greens recklessly want to put at risk and abandon the livelihoods of nearly 500 workers at that mine site, and their families and the future of that town. There is a process which has been gone through by the mine and that process needs to take its course. What you want to do at every opportunity, as I say, is recklessly put at risk the jobs and livelihood of the people in that mine and the community that surrounds it.

Ms O'Connor - That is a lie.

Mr SPEAKER - Order, Ms O'Connor. You will withdraw that comment.

Ms O'Connor - I withdraw 'lie'. It is an 'untruth'.

Mr SPEAKER - It has to be done without qualification.

Ms O'Connor - You cannot use the word 'lie' in this place, so I withdraw it. A lie is a lie.

Members interjecting.

Mr GUTWEIN - We are either going to deal with this matter or we are not. That was quite audible to everybody in the Chamber.

Ms O'Connor - I stated a fact.

Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor if you constantly interject then I have no option, so I ask you now to listen in silence to the Premier. You have withdrawn the comment. No more comments from you through your interjections, please.

Dr WOODRUFF - Point of clarification, Mr Speaker. The Premier was directing his comment directly to Ms O'Connor, which is probably why she responded to him.

Mr SPEAKER - Order. It was not a point of order and it is not a debate. The Premier will continue his answer. If you constantly interject then I have no alternative. Please listen calmly to the Premier's answer.

Mr GUTWEIN - Mr Speaker, if the member for Franklin thinks that I was directing that directly at the Leader of the Greens then I am sorry. I was directing that at the Greens because the nub of this issue is that with reckless abandon they will call for outcomes that would cost 500 jobs which would seriously damage a regional community when we know there is a process under way. That process is that MMG has initiated a referral under the EPBC Act to determine whether the proposed action will need formal assessment and approval under that EPBC Act. The referral is currently with the Australian Government for determination and is expected later in July.

They have also formally submitted a notice of intent with the EPA. The proposed tailing storage facility will be rigorously scrutinised by the relevant environmental agencies at both state and Commonwealth levels.

I say to the Leader of the Greens that she should be frank and honest in terms of the questions she is raising. She should have said that quite clearly her aim is to damage those 500 jobs.