Keeping faith in pulp mill project

THE proposed Bell Bay pulp mill remained one of the biggest projects on the horizon, Premier Lara Giddings told 83 guests at a $55-a-head business breakfast at Launceston's Seaport yesterday.

It was also a project the state government supported, she added.

``We will do what we can to support the investment in the Bell Bay pulp mill . . . a project that is, right now, out in the market for sale.

``We don't know what will happen with it, but we believe that there is significant interest in helping to realise that project and make it happen in the state and, most importantly, here in the North.

``(It will) help to create jobs here, not just in the construction phase, but of course, the on-going jobs that will continue, not just for the pulp mill, but for all those suppliers who support a pulp mill too.''

Ms Giddings said that the state government had this financial year committed $37.3 million for Northern and north-east-Tasmanian roads, including improvements to the Midland Highway.

``You drive up and down the Midland Highway and see, largely, paddocks that have some sheep in them _ I believe that in the future you'll drive up and down that highway and see those regions transformed because of access to water they will have,'' she said.

``You will see, as the Cole River Valley was transformed through irrigation, much of Tasmania will see the same sorts of benefits.''

Ms Giddings said that Tasmania had a strong future, based on its brand, the investment the state government had made and, most importantly, the people it has.

Ms Giddings was introduced by Attorney-general Brian Wightman, who viewed the future with some optimism.

``The planets are starting to re-align and confidence is improving in Tasmania,'' he said.

``We've got a number of people here at a function to support us and Australia's back winning the cricket.''

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