Polling shows more support for pulp mill

CLAIMS the proposed pulp mill lacks a "social licence" have been debunked by new polling showing 36.6 per cent oppose a pulp mill being built near Bell Bay.

New ReachTEL polling conducted for The Examiner found that support for the Longreach pulp mill was higher than opposition in four out of five Tasmanian electorates.

The pulp mill was most unpopular in the South, with 52.6 per cent of Denison voters against it.

Statewide, 43.4 per cent supported the Bell Bay pulp mill.

However, more people appear to favour an alternative site, with support for a pulp mill anywhere in the state rising to 51.4 per cent statewide.

The surge in support was most felt in Braddon, home to Hampshire, south of Burnie, which has been raised as a better location for the project.

About 15 per cent were undecided about any pulp mill, which increased to one in five voters unsure about the proposed Longreach pulp mill.

The state's high unemployment rate is likely to have contributed to the level of support for the $2.3billion project to go ahead, particularly in the North-West, which has been hardest hit by job losses.

The pulp mill was put back on the political agenda earlier this year when parliament was recalled to rush through legislative changes to remove any legal threats to the project.

The Greens, who had proposed holding a referendum in conjunction with Saturday's election to test support for the changes, yesterday declared they would not be swayed by polling showing a majority supported a pulp mill.

Failed timber company Gunns' assets were put on the market in November. Potential buyers have until the end of the month to make an offer.

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