In the lead up to this Sunday’s community forum at Beaconsfield, locals gathered outside the Launceston office of Environment Minister Michelle O’Byrne and handed over 1600 signed letters for delivery to Premier David Bartlett.

Fed up with the shifting sands in which the Premier has drawn his pulp mill line, residents poured sand outside Ms O’Byrne’s office and asked her to choose whether she stands on the drifting sands of shaky ALP promises or on solid ground with her constituents.

“Launceston residents are taking this action because they want the Government to know that if they give their word then Tasmanians expect them to keep it,” said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.

A year ago, Premier Bartlett repeatedly said that the state government would not provide any more support for the mill. But despite this, Treasurer Michael Aird has recently returned from spruiking the pulp mill in Europe on a taxpayer-funded trip and Mr Bartlett has offered unequivocal support for the project to any potential financier who will listen.

“Gunns pulp mill does not have a social licence and its business operations that logs and woodchips native forests, poisons native wildlife and sues vocal opponents are seen as environmentally destructive and socially divisive.” 

“Tasmanians do not support the pulp mill proposal, and neither should our government or any international investor”, said Mr Bayley. “Tasmania needs to move on from environmentally destructive activities that create conflict in the community.”

Over 1600 letters signed by people all over Australia were presented to Ms O’Byrne’s office for delivery to the Premier at the upcoming community forum. The letters focus on the need to protect native forests as an urgent step in the global fight against climate change and the special deals the Labor government has done for Gunns. Being heavily dependent on logging native forests, Gunns’ pulp mill would be massive contributor of greenhouse pollution.

“Logging native forests to feed Gunns’ pulp mill would emit carbon pollution equivalent to adding an extra 2.3 million cars on the road each year.”

The Tasmanian community will protest outside the Bartlett Government’s community forum at Beaconsfield Primary School this Sunday with TAP into a Better Tasmania organising an event beginning at 11am.