Reopening mill not aim of inquiry

AN inquiry into the defunct Triabunna woodchip mill will not see it reopen nor guarantee jobs for the East Coast, says the politician in charge of the probe.

Bass Liberal MHA Guy Barnett yesterday confirmed in Launceston that the House of Assembly Community Development Committee, which he chairs, would inquire into the mill.

The inquiry follows a magazine article saying the mill was made inoperable in an undercover operation.

It was closed and then sold by Gunns in 2011 to environmentalists Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood, with environmentalist Alec Marr the mill manager.

Mr Barnett said the state government-dominated committee would look at the sale and dismantling of the mill, plus development and other opportunities at Triabunna and the surrounding region.

He said the inquiry was not aimed at reopening the mill, nor would he put a number on the jobs it would find for the East Coast.

"We would like to know what Labor and the previous Labor-Green government knew about these actions of vandalism by the environmental radicals and specifically Alec Marr," Mr Barnett said.

"And if they knew about it, was there a clear breach of the Tasmanian Forestry Agreement, the inter- governmental agreement, which is the so-called forestry peace deal."

The state government wants to repeal the forestry agreement.

Wilderness Society spokesman and a peace deal negotiator Vica Bayley said reopening the mill was not a requirement of the legislation.

He said the owners had called for tenders to operate the mill.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green said the former government had not been told about any destruction at the mill.

"What they ought to be thinking about is solutions for job creation on the East Coast," Mr Green said.

"People are expecting leadership now and expecting the government to be thinking of tangible ways of going forward, not having inquiries into the past."

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