Carr's charcoal slap
The approval by the NSW Carr Government for the operation of a charcoal factory on the State's south coast "is a slap in the face of the people of NSW", says The Wilderness Society. The factory is to go ahead despite widespread community opposition. The Wilderness Society, in coalition with the Aboriginal community, local residents, tourism operators and businesses, have come out in almost total opposition to the project. "We understand that some 98 percent of formal submissions on this factory proposal opposed the development", said The Wilderness Society's Glen Klatovsky. He said the Government, in its statement approving the factory, fundamentally failed to address the community's substantial concerns. One of the main objections to the factory is that it will be fuelled by cutting down old-growth forest trees. Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said that the Government has given a green seal of approval to what will come out of the factory exhaust pipe but ignored what goes in as fuel, the ancient forests that should be protected and preserved. "The Minister has imposed a variety of sound conditions on the actual functioning of the charcoal plant site operations, but these were only ever a minor issue", said Ms Rhiannon. "The massive logging operations required to fuel this plant were deliberately excluded from the assessment process." To add insult to injury, the Government's approval has come with the offer of a "Community Reference Panel". This, says The Wilderness Society, "is the ultimate outrage to the people of the region". The Government has had a community reference panel since the project was first proposed, and it has answered the question clearly — 98 percent said No! "Bob Carr has lost his self-titled `Green Premier' tag today", said Glen Klatovsky. "The Wilderness Society will be mobilising community opposition to the charcoal factory in the lead-up to the State election." Said Lee Rhiannon: "This is the sort of conservative decision which is driving many left voters to abandon Labor for the Greens."