South Coast Charcoal Plant Opposed – Council Decision is a Turning Point

Ian Cohen MLC
The Greens
Legislative Council, Parliament House
Macquarie Street, SYDNEY 2OOO
Ph: 02 9230 2603 Fax: 02 9230 2267
Mobile: 0409 989 466

11 DECEMBER 2001
Greens MLC Ian Cohen has congratulated Eurobodalla Shire Council on its refusal (8 votes to 1) to support the proposed South Coast Charcoal Plant at Mossy Point near Bateman’s Bay after it analysed the Environmental Impact Statement for the project.

“This decision is a turning point which the Carr Government will ignore at its political peril,” said Mr Cohen.

“However, I fear that the immediate reaction of the NSW Government and Australian Silicon will be to see if someone else can be bullied or fooled into hosting the charcoal plant. I am aware that the Braidwood community may now be targeted as the myopic Tallaganda Shire Council has recently resolved to encourage the plant. Alternatively, Shoalhaven Shire coastal towns may be targeted.”

“The Eurobodalla Shire Council has fairly reflected the overwhelming opinion of their community and other South Coast communities from Nowra to Braidwood. Council has also fatally punctured the claims of Australian Silicon that the plant would be an economic plus for the South Coast.”

“The Council’s report makes it clear that Australian Silicon has not addressed the mandatory requirements of the Director General of Planning to assess the potential impacts on tourism, the real economic driver for much of the South Coast.”

“The Council has concluded that Australian Silicon has not provided a credible cost benefit analysis and has failed to establish the real opportunity costs. Council has described the claimed financial contribution to the regional economy as questionable and that actual job generation is uncertain, including potential double counting of claimed forestry jobs.”

“The truth is that the charcoal plant and the associated massive additional logging of South Coast forests is a threat to the economy and ecology of the entire region, with especially high impacts on the community which has to suffer the actual plant.”

“The Eurobodalla Coast Tourism Board clearly shares the concerns of the community and conservation groups who have opposed the plant. The Board also decided this week to oppose the plant. This is a decision based on the likely damage to the successful tourism marketing of the Eurobodalla Coast as the Nature Coast, the public image or ‘branding’ of the region.”

“Low ash coal from New Zealand is a real alternative to the charcoal but the company and State Forests are clearly mutually determined to burn the South Coast forests.”

“It is now time for Bob Carr to put an end to this continuing farce and rule out the charcoal plant not only at Batemans Bay but anywhere in NSW, unless it can operate without burning native forests or destroying the amenity and economy of local communities. The Premier risks destroying his own branding as the ‘Green Premier’ unless he now acts quickly.”

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