Charcoal Blackens Country Labor Conference

South East Forest Alliance
Australian National University Environment Collective
MEDIA RELEASE 14 September 2002

Charcoal Blackens Country Labor Conference

Community and conservation groups today staged a protest against the South Coast Charcoal Factory at the annual NSW Country Labor Conference being held in Cooma.

‘We are here to remind Country Labor, which has enthusiastically supported this appalling development, that the entire South Coast is outraged at this massive industrial development being dumped on the communities,’ said spokespersons for the groups. These communities live amidst what Bob Carr recently called ’..the jewel in the crown, the beautiful south coast..’

‘This huge eyesore with its smoking stacks, air pollution and 20,000 additional heavy truck movements a year on the already dangerous Princes highway, for charcoal and woodchips, will destroy the quality of life of thousands of people on the coast.’

‘We are certain that the relative handful of jobs for loggers, truckers and plant operators, about 50 all told, will be offset by hundreds of job losses as this smokestack factory and its woodchip operations devastate the nature based tourism industry, the Coast’s strongest economic driver which employs over 6000 people.’

‘We are also here to remind the Country Labor delegates that people all over the state are outraged at the archaic plan to burn native forests for charcoal, a plan that is essentially another woodchipping operation to prop up a badly managed South Coast logging industry.’

We will be providing the delegates with a copy of the key schedule from the Timber Supply Agreement, reluctantly released by the Carr Government to Parliament, which shows the factory will only take whole logs. This is directly contrary to the assertions of the Premier and his Ministers that the factory will only be burning so called logging waste such as stumps and branches from state forests.”

“We hope that Country Labor delegates will realise that they have been profoundly misled by State Forests and some of their own colleagues.”

‘We hope that they realise that Country Labor is well and truly on the nose with voters all along the South Coast as a result of their support for the charcoal factory.’

‘They need to completely repudiate both the factory and the idea of burning forests for charcoal. Moving this plant to another location is not a solution, as South Coast forests will still bear the brunt of the development.

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