Ms DAWKINS question to MINISTER for STATE GROWTH, Mr GUTWEIN
Yesterday in Greens' private members' time, you told parliament that Gunns receiver and manager KordaMentha had written to you on 11 September, six weeks ago, asking you to surrender the pulp mill permits, yet you chose to keep that information secret from the people in the Tamar Valley in your electorate of Bass. It was not until the Greens made the parliament aware of the KordaMentha request that you chose to tell Tasmanians of this significant development in the history of that site. Why did you keep this information secret and what steps have you now made to formalise this process? Have you cancelled the permits to bring this sorry, stressful and divisive chapter in Tasmania's history to an end once and for all?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I put on the public record all the detail in regard to this yesterday. KordaMentha wrote to the Government. I responded, as the new State Growth minister and I believe the letter was sent only about a week ago. The advice I have received is that, as KordaMentha have handed in the permit, that is an abandonment of the permit process and therefore it has no further existence. I have written back to KordaMentha, as I indicated yesterday, to confirm that.
It is well understood that the pulp mill project is over. I know that makes you very happy because that project was about using waste product. It was about ensuring that we could grow a crop of trees that were designed to be turned into pulp and processed in this state rather than being processed overseas and supporting jobs overseas. We know full well in respect of that project that Greens member after Greens member have built their careers on tearing down projects like that.
In terms of the project, we were strong supporters of it and it would have provided thousands of jobs.
Ms O'Connor interjecting.
Mr FERGUSON - Point of order, Mr Speaker. For the third day in a row I rise to draw your attention to a very unparliamentary remark just made by the member for Denison, which I again do not wish to repeat, but I ask that she withdraw that obscene comment and do so immediately and without qualification.
Ms O'CONNOR - I withdraw the statement.
Mr GUTWEIN - You have no class at all, do you?
The pulp mill project is over. As I have said, and put clearly on the public record yesterday, I have written to KordaMentha confirming their previous correspondence. The advice we have is that the abandonment of the permit and the notification they provided indicates the permit has no further existence. That is on the public record and I said that yesterday .
I make the point that that project was going to support thousands of Tasmanians. That project would have had a positive and significant impact on our economy. The problem with you in this place is you bear no thought whatsoever for the jobs of the people who were working in the industry under the last term when you held the balance of power with Labor. You care nought for the fact that that wood will now go overseas and create jobs in foreign countries, rather than creating jobs here.
Yesterday's stunt - you know Ms Dawkins is in trouble. She has no platform and you are simply trying to wedge some politics out of this. People know very clearly that that project is over. The Greens will no doubt continue to dance on its grave for a long time to come, but that is a matter for them. Their behaviour in this place is just reprehensible.