Triabunna mill inquiry after article

THE state government will launch a parliamentary inquiry into the closure, sale and dismantlement of the Triabunna woodchip mill.

Parliamentary secretary Guy Barnett said the mill's undercover dismantlement, as depicted in the July edition of The Monthly magazine, had "raised more questions than answers".

The mill had ceased operation when environmentalists Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron bought it from Gunns in July 2011, and the machinery was motionless for a further two years before manager Alec Marr was said to have led an undercover wrecking operation.

Mr Barnett said the The Monthly article exposed the "disgraceful tactics of radical environmentalists", while adding that questions still remained over the former government's knowledge of the new owners' intentions.

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz called for a Royal Commission into the sale of the mill in July 2011, stating at the time that the dealings between former timber giant Gunns and green groups needed full exposure.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green, unaware of the pending inquiry, said the former government had been supportive of a rival offer for the Triabunna mill in 2011.

"Ultimately, Gunns made the commercial decision to sell it in the manner it did," Mr Green said.

"Reports of deliberate sabotage are extremely disappointing and puts a lie to any suggestion to mill was going to be restarted by those who bought it."

Greens leader Kim Booth, also unaware of the inquiry, said the public record showed Gunns had shut down, mothballed and sold the mill to a private owner.

"And the last time I looked we lived in a free enterprise country where you were entitled to do what you wanted with your own property."

Mr Barnett said he would move for the inquiry to be conducted by the House of Assembly Community Development Committee, of which he is the chairman.

He said the proposed terms of reference would be to report on the circumstances surrounding the closure, sale and ultimate dismantling of the mill, and to identify development and other opportunities for the Triabunna community and the surrounding regions.

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