Charcoal Plant Will Decide Marginal Eden Monaro Seat – Labor Seizes Chance

South East Forest Alliance

MEDIA RELEASE 9 November 2001

Charcoal Plant Will Decide Marginal Eden Monaro Seat – Labor Seizes Chance

Conservation groups today welcomed the significant move by Labor’s candidate, Steve Whan, to clearly oppose the highly controversial South Coast Charcoal Plant.

“In discussions with us, Steve Whan has clarified a statement he released to a meeting of over 500 people in Bateman’s Bay on Wednesday night,” said spokespersons for the groups

“Steve Whan has confirmed to us that he is now opposing the charcoal plant being established anywhere on the South Coast due to its obvious impacts on transport, community health and the South Coast forests and high community concern.”

“Conservation groups are confident that the Charcoal Plant issue will now decide the election outcome in the highly marginal seat of Eden Monaro, following the Bateman’s Bay meeting and today’s clarification. This follows other massive meetings in Mogo and Moruya in recent weeks also opposing the plant, each with 400-500 people.

“The Liberals candidate Gary Nairn has simply suggested that the plant be moved elsewhere on the South Coast if the huge community opposition in the Eurobodalla Shire continues. The community is wise enough to say ‘no’ to this divide and conquer approach.”

“South Coast people know that the charcoal plant will cause enormous damage to the South Coast forests and water catchments as well as the dependent tourism, fishing and oyster industries, wherever it is located. The plant will woodchip and burn 200,000 tonnes a year of South Coast timber for up to 40 years, tripling the current logging intensities and entrenching intensive, unsustainable logging.”

“Steve Whan and most of the community know by now that the mooted Environmental Impact Statement to be released after the election is already irrelevant as it will not address the key concern, the impact of the enormous timber requirement on the South Coast forests and water catchments. No one who has followed the fate of the South Coast forests since the Eden woodchip plant was established in 1969 will have any confidence in State Forest’s assertions that this massive timber supply will not damage the forests.”

“Many in the community will be motivated to support a candidate who clearly and firmly repudiates, before the election, the proposed charcoal plant being established anywhere on the South Coast.”

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