Game on in mill fight

IT'S ``game on'' in the fight against the Tamar Valley pulp mill, as details of the proposed legislation to make the $2.3 billion project more attractive to potential buyers were released yesterday.

Under the proposed legislation to be debated in a special sitting of State Parliament next week, a new proponent would have until April 2017 to start building the pulp mill.

The 2007 Pulp Mill Assessment Act gave Gunns four years to ``substantially commence'' work on the site. 

The time extension and related amendments effectively quashes any existing or future legal challenge to the validity of the permit such as the Tasmanian Conservation Trust's Supreme Court action arguing the permits had expired because ``substantial work'' had not started. 

Greens leader Nick McKim said it was ``game on''. 

After criticism for his blase approach to the proposed legislation to strengthen the pulp mill permits last week, Mr McKim was talking tough yesterday.

He gave the strongest indication yet that the party would move a no-confidence motion in their previous power-sharing partners in a bid to block the legislation.

``We will use every parliamentary mechanism at our disposal to delay or derail this abhorrent piece of legislation.''

Greens Bass MHA Kim Booth has already vowed to attempt to bring down the government before debate on the legislation begins, calling for an inquiry into the government's interference with a live court case.

``This is corruption with a capital C,'' he said yesterday. 

Gunns receiver KordaMentha wrote to the Premier in September requesting any doubt about the validity of the permits be removed.

A KordaMentha spokesman said yesterday the receivers were getting a legal opinion on the proposed legislation, but said it appeared it went beyond what they suggested. 

Tasmanian Conservation Trust director Peter McGlone has not ruled out challenging the amended legislation in the High Court. 

The legislation is expected to pass with the support of the opposition. 

However, Liberal Leader Will Hodgman said he was concerned Gunns assets could be sold without the mill being built. 

``The fact is the best security a purchaser could have is a majority government, and only the Liberals are able to deliver the majority government needed to make the pulp mill a reality,'' Mr Hodgman said.


--Pulp mill permit extended from four to 10 years.

--Prevents any legal challenge to the permit's validity.

--Cements the right to sell the pulp mill permit.

Nick McKim

Nick McKim


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