Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
Yesterday Tassal made an unequivocal statement of concern about the controversial new woodchip port proposed for Dover. They said that the health of their fish is paramount, they have concerns from a biosecurity perspective and the two operations could not coexist within the proposed footprint. Huon Aquaculture is already on record expressing their concerns about the woodchip facility. Aquaculture employs some 330 people in Dover today but the developer's CEO, Danny Peet, confessed to a public meeting last year that his private business would only provide at best a handful of local jobs. Further, woodchips are a low-value product and one of the most automated, noisy and environmentally damaging industries. It is directly at odds with the beauty of Port Esperance and Tasmania's clean, green image.
With Tassal and the logging developer now officially opposed to each other, which one will your state Government back, the fish or the chips?
Madam Speaker, it is a great new world in which we live, one where it would seem that the Greens are now apparently strong supporters of Tasmania's salmon industry and one of its great companies, Tassal. When you think of the work that has been done by the member who asked the question to damage the industry, to damage Tassal and its brand and to affect the workers of Tassal over the last four years, to now claim to be a strong supporter. I am not sure that Tassal or the salmon industry will welcome that.
The question also highlights the hypocrisy of the Greens, who are often demanding that due process be allowed to occur. That is what will and should happen in this case. That should be for the planning approvals authority to make a decision when the proponent is able to lodge its DA and to progress its proposal without support of the State Government, I hasten to add, but to do so in a way that is unencumbered by political persuasion of bias, or in a way that should prevent the proponent from being able to work with others who might be impacted by the proposal. My understanding is that Tassal has met, or will meet, with the proponents about these matters. I trust them to use their best endeavours to negotiate any matters of interest.
Needless to say, we maintain very strong support for both the salmon industry and the forest industry. The economic growth that our state is enjoying was not enjoyed under a previous Labor-Greens government. I assure you, given the very strong opposition from the Greens, not helped by a wishy-washy Labor Party, very closely wedded to the Greens, they have not enjoyed the strong support that they will get under this Government. We will continue to work with them to ensure that their industry can grow, and will grow, sustainably. We have provided more capacity for them to do so. We have also made more provisions and this is another great irony in this debate. It was the Liberal Government that brought in strengthened regulatory requirements, empowered the EPA to protect our environment and lifted penalties for any breaches against the environmental laws. Another great irony in this is that the Liberal Party has been the great defenders of not only the industry, but also our environment.