The Guardian May 8, 2002


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."

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