It is a ridiculous notion that tourism and woodchips can co-exist in Triabunna.
The whole focus Graeme Wood says he wants to bring to the old woodchip site is renewal. This used to be the old economy, the old destroy-the-environment type economy, now with renewal we are going to build on Tasmania’s strengths. You cannot do that by saying you’re going to leg-rope the site to the old economy. It is a completely failed vision. That is why we need to get behind Graeme Wood’s idea.
I think the Spring Bay Mill will be the most exciting thing that could happen to the East Coast. If the government was successful in trying to compulsorily aquire the site or set up next door, it would need to massively subsidise any new woodchip facility. It would be putting in an industry for products that nobody wants to by. How stupid would that be? And it will be a further drain on taxpayers’ dollars.
Why should the whole of Australia prop up an industry that the world does not support, and in an age of global warming and species extinction it is going to want even less. We had a report out last week that almost 50 percent of the world’s wildlife has disappeared in the past 40 years. That is a shocking statistic.
The pressure to end native forest logging is going to get greater, not less. It’s aking to building a cigarette factory and getting tobacco plantations up and running when the world is trying to stop smoking.
The problem is that the native forest industry is desperate to keep on woodchipping. The next major push is going to be for native forest furnaces and they will use the excuse of existing residues and want renewable energy certificates (REC’s) to burn native forests.
What they are doing is trying to get a lifeline to keep on logging native forests. Until such a time as they stop there is no conversation about how to remove existing wood stockpiles because what they are trying to do is use existing stock piles as a mechanism to get the industry a long-term commitment to continue native forest logging. This is how the woodchip industry started. We had sawmilling and people said, well we just need to get rid of the residues, so they opened up the woodchip industry and before you knew it what drove the industry was the woodchips.
The Spring Bay concept is based on Tasmania’s reputation for fine food, its reputation as a natural and beautiful, clean, inspiring place. The deep-water port could provide tremendous opportunities from visiting cruise ships and other vessels. The location of it will provide better access to the North East and Maria Island. And as an education/arts facility it spreads the notion of creativity that MONA and our other arts hubs have embraced. It has enormous potential to bring more jobs and a new focus to the North East, where they have already built a reputation on wines, walnuts, seafood, and other quality produce. It’s a tremendous opportunity to make it a real hub, to take tourists out of Hobart and focus on staying on the East coast for another couple of days. It also brings a new group of people to Tasmania who come for the culinary school and those kinds of experiences.
I am really captured by the notion of a centre in Tasmania for renewal. The whole point of the forest peace process was to save the forests, of course, but also to say we need to get away from the old industries which are failing and build new ones. To have a vision for Tasmania and renew Tasmania and this is really at the heart of what Greame Wood is trying to do.
I think it’s terrific, and it is what the Greens have been working towards for some time. It is actually a terrible thing to have the Liberal party here and in Canberra determined to say to people: forget all of that about the future, if you vote for us we’ll take you back to the old days of dig it up, cut it down, and ship it away. That is all you need, you do not need a good education, you do not need sophistication, you just rip things up. That is where the Liberals are coming from, and it is a recipe for economic stagnation. We still have poor retention rates to senior secondary school and university. The only way you are going to encourage people to stay in Tasmania is to get them thinking about the sort of careers that they can do.
If people are given the idea that the only option is to follow their parents onto the farm, down the mine or into old school forestry we are not going to get the refocusing needed for young people to see that the future is about innovation and imagination. Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott and Will Hodgman’s vision is about dig it up, cut it down and ship it away and therein lies the last century compared to this century.