Dr WOODRUFF question to PREMIER, Mr HODGMAN
James Neville-Smith, the director of private company Southwood Fibre, has met an impassable roadblock in his plan to export woodchips from Port Esperance. Tassal has made it clear that James' woodchip proposal and his fish farm company's operations are incompatible. In James Neville-Smith's media statement he referred to alternative locations such as Electrona and Macquarie Wharf that had been previously canvassed and rejected for his private and environmentally destructive woodchip wealth generation scheme. He said he would be open to 'an alternative site'.
Last night, over 120 people packed Huonville town hall and overwhelmingly voted against the divisive last-century woodchip proposal by James Neville-Smith in your electorate. The responsibility for fixing the headlock between these two industries now sits with you. Instead of working with your cronies and moving the chess pieces of Tasmania around behind closed doors, will you instead listen to and really stand by your own communities that want future industries that benefits locals and protect our state's beauty?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Franklin for her question. As I have said previously in relation to this and other matters that might be the subject of an application for development, those matters are handled by the relevant planning authority, in this case the Huon Valley Council. Until such time as a proposal is brought before a planning authority such as a council, it is well within the rights of proponents of developments to look for opportunities, to do the necessary work, the due diligence, the planning, the business case assessments and those things, as you would typically expect them to do, to test the merits of their proposal. This will then need to be tested not only by the planning authority but also be subject to environmental protections and assessments and a range of matters that form a set of processes in a system that has previously and usually been supported by members in this House. This includes a Greens member who was formerly, in this case, a member of the council in question. The member now wants to subvert that process because it does not suit her political interests and calls on this Government to do so.
With respect to any opportunities for investment around our state to support the sustainable growth of our forest industry, we will support it as long as it stands on its merits and passes through the usual planning processes allowing members of the community to have their say. We will support those who want to see continued growth in our forestry, salmon, mining, tourism and agricultural industries, and in the core pillars of our economy, which are currently in the strongest performing economy in the nation; at least one of them. They are able, I respectfully suggest, to exist and operate around our state but it must be done on the basis of passing the approvals planning process. It is a matter for those proponents if and when they choose to put something forward.