MR HODGMAN I live about 10km upstream from the proposed mill site. I live here with my wife Anna.  We love where we live.

Indeed,  it is a pleasure to wake up here every morning. Anna and I look forward to raising children here, and no Mr Hodgman, we are not spoilt rich Greenies.  Indeed my wife and I are both nurses and we choose to commute into Launceston where we work hard and do our best. Until recently we have not exactly been what you would call activists. In fact, most of our spare time is devoted to sport and other interests. However we have always maintained an interest in local politics and social issues.

      Based on my reading around the proposed Gunns pulp mill I am now very concerned about the future of this wonderful area.  I am now of the firm opinion that this Mill will sadly re-industrialise and diminish a region that has gone a long way to reinventing itself. 

To reinventing itself as a place with a peaceful and easy ambience, clear blue skies and still waters in summer. As a place known for its natural beauty and clean and clever local produce and for being home to Tasmananias premier wine route.

As an attractive destination for Sunday touring by antique car enthusiasts and locals because of its quaint but safe windy roads and riverside views. For lovers of cycling, boating and fishing.

      Mr Hodgman I would like to ask you how can support an industrial project that is in such direct opposition to the Tamar Valley of 2007. To the modern, attractive and grown up Tamar Valley.

Moreover how can you support a development in the Tamar Valley that will make our roads more dangerous to drive on, in all likelihood exacerbate detriments to water quality and diminish availability, make our air more offensive and dangerous to breath and the sky more difficult to see.

How can you support this project in the Tamar Valley when there is now overwhelming evidence to show that it will directly lead to increased morbidity and mortality rates of local Tasmanians. Or do you dispute these assertions? If so please tell me on what basis. If you don’t Mr Hodgman, please tell me why you would still support this development. 

Will, the Tamar Valley could be home to any number of development … but this?

As former RPDC expert panellist Dr. Warwick Raverty says; “The Tamar Valley is one of the most challenging environments into which to put a kraft mill in Tasmania, simply because of the existing poor quality of air, and the high load of air pollutants —  mainly from domestic wood heaters and other industrial discharges, particularly the Temco ferro-manganese alloy refinery at Bell Bay and the Bell Bay power station”.

Mr Hodgman please explain to me how in all good conscience you could be a party to a such an obviously inappropriate project. A project that will surely lead to negative health and wellbeing outcomes for this region and the Tasmanian families that live here. Surely Will it is your job as a major political leader in Tasmania to ensure that a development of this nature, which is now as controversial as anything since the Franklin Dam, a project whose environmental and public health credentials are so disputed should not see that light of day.

Mr Hodgman consider these statements, again by Dr. Warwick Raverty: “So you’ve got a situation where Gunns want it there, the Tasmanian Government wants it there, but by and large the electorate don’t want it there. The electorate, again, were prepared to wait for the RPDC decision but Gunns have unilaterally withdrawn from that process and everybody, almost to a man and a woman, is deeply suspicious of Gunns’ motives in withdrawing and insisting on the mill going into this valley which includes a lot of other ‘conflicting uses’, which include tourism, and vineyards and fisheries and so forth, all of which could be severely damaged by this mill — certainly tourism could be damaged by the mill — if it isn’t got exactly right. My understanding is that tourism is already, right now, bringing as much money into the Tamar Valley every 3 – 4 years as Gunns own best case estimates suggest the mill will bring in in the next 20 years”.

      Indeed, Mr Hodgman please explain to myself and other locals why you support a mill that the people of Launceston are now at best very apathetic, negative or suspicious towards and at worst outright opposed to. How can you not come out against something that puts so much that so many have worked so hard to create at risk?

Why Mr Hodgman, aren’t you, like all politicians who are supporting this mill not the least bit concerned that this project will come back and bite you? That it will be a far bigger headache than it is worth?

Dont you really just wish in your heart of hearts that Gunns would drop the Longreach mill and save you all some very nasty and potentially serious evironmental and public health backlash down the track?

Finally Mr Hodgman will you at least show leadership, unlike The Premier and other members of his government and bring some healing to the appalling breakdown of relationship that exists between many Launcestonians and Tasmanian politicians. A breakdown that has occured because of the trail of deceit and broken promises that has followed this pulp mill proposal. Can you help to stop the further alienation of people concerned about the Mill and respond sincerely and respectfully to people like myself as “concerned local Tasmanian people” and not illegitimate greenies and deviant sub-citizens.

      Will, I am sorry to overwhelm you with my questions and concerns, but you might consider how overwhelmed we here in the valley are, we who have had to in our spare time devour thousands of pages of often mind numbing literature in the hope that we might gain a more unbiased, factual and therefore accurate picture of what we are dealing with; a factual and unbiased picture; than our obviously pro-mill at-any-cost government is willing to provide.

But hey Will, why should I spare you these concerns lest I upset you when it is you who have been elected to serve the people of Launceston, not the other way around. It is you who are charged with the job of deciding the fate of this mill and therefore the place in which I live, so you more than I should be across all of the issues around this mill and therefore easily able to discuss it with people like myself.

So,  I am not hoping you might address my concerns Will; I expect you to.

I myself have never campaigned for or against any person or party at any election Will, but because of what I see as the irresponsible support by some politicians of this very, very dubious mill proposal I am seriously thinking of becoming more active next time around. I reckon there are plenty of others who live around here who might consider doing the same.

Yours truly,

Rick Pilkington
Gravelly Beach
7276

In response to: Will in Cyberspace

Rick Pilkington

Finally Mr Hodgman will you at least show leadership, unlike The Premier and other members of his government and bring some healing to the appalling breakdown of relationship that exists between many Launcestonians and Tasmanian politicians. A breakdown that has occured because of the trail of deceit and broken promises that has followed this pulp mill proposal. Can you help to stop the further alienation of people concerned about the Mill and respond sincerely and respectfully to people like myself as “concerned local Tasmanian people” and not illegitimate greenies and deviant sub-citizens.