No Go In Mogo a Great Victory But Charcoal Fight is Not Over

South East Forest Alliance
MEDIA RELEASE 25 September 2002

No Go In Mogo A Great Victory
But Charcoal Fight Is Not Over

The South East Forest Alliance representing some 20 forest conservation groups today was jubilant at the announcement by Australian Silicon that it was not proceeding with its controversial plans to build a charcoal factory at Mogo near Batemans Bay on the South Coast but the Alliance has warned the Premier that the fight about charcoal and woodchipping is not over.

‘This is a great victory for the South Coast community and conservationists who warned the company and Premier Carr from the very beginning that woodchipping and burning forests for charcoal was an archaic idea that we would fight all the way’, said Noel Plumb, Convenor of the Alliance.

‘The Premier’s arrogant claim that the charcoal plant is a ‘fait accompli’ has been resoundingly defeated by a community which never gave up,’ said Chris Kowal leader of the Charcoalition and President of Coastwatchers.

However, the company is still insisting that it is considering alternative sites ‘on the east coast’ and will not rule out NSW as still hosting the plant.

This means that conservationists and communities in NSW and Victoria, from the Queensland border to the Otway ranges in western Victoria are still threatened by this archaic proposal despite it having been resoundingly rejected first in western NSW woodlands and now on the South Coast.

‘It also means that Premier Carr will remain under pressure all the way to the election to ban the use of native forests anywhere in the State for charcoal and stop woodchipping,’ continued Mr Plumb.

‘The Premier has been totally inconsistent. Several weeks ago he banned the burning of native forest ‘residues’, so called logging waste, for energy production but has vehemently championed the South Coast charcoal operation even after the secret timber supply contract was revealed to specify whole logs, 200,000 tonnes a year including millions of mature and old growth forest trees.

‘This will remain a fiery election issue unless the Premier stops the rot. He needs to declare native forests out of bounds not only to charcoal for silicon but all the other nasty export woodchip replacement ideas like charcoal for steel making and ethanol production, ideas which are still being peddled by a completely discredited State Forests and the logging industry.’

‘The public will not forget that this was a Premier elected on his promises to save the forests and to stop all woodchipping by the year 2000.’

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