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Greens MLC Ian Cohen today claimed that the ‘No Charcoal’ Rally on the Sydney Domain this Sunday afternoon is clear evidence that the Carr Government has wasted more than $100 million dollars of taxpayers’ money in its farcical restructure of the logging industry.
The Rally has been called by major environment groups to oppose plans supported by the Carr Government, although not yet approved, to woodchip and burn South Coast forests for a massive charcoal plant at Batemans Bay
“This Rally is a wake up call to the Government that conservationists and the public are increasingly aware that Bob Carr has failed to meet his promises to save the forests, promises that got him elected in 1995,” said Mr Cohen.
“Yet his Government has handed out more than $80 million in so called structural adjustment payments to the timber and transport unions and the logging companies.”
“A further $20 million at least has been spent on various assessment processes by the Carr and Howard Governments, much of it peripheral or even counter to the main business of protecting the forests.”
“I will make sure that this is a central issue in the NSW election that is now due in less than twelve months.”
“After nearly five years of forest assessments, the public finds that Bob Carr’s Government is helping promote industry plans to massively extend woodchipping, to heavily increase logging and to burn forests for charcoal production and power stations.”
“This is not what they were promised and expected.”
“It is also not what they expected to happen to nearly $80 million of NSW Environment Trust Funds raised from waste levies, levies supposed to pay for environmental improvements.”
“I will be speaking at the Rally on Sunday afternoon and I will be happy to meet Bob Carr or any other member of his Government there on the stage to debate this forestry fiasco.”