Australia's Launceston City Council votes against support for Bell Bay pulp mill; mayor says whether pulp mill gets built will depend on financial support, not local government

LAUNCESTON, Australia , December 12, 2011 (press release) – A motion from Alderman Tony Peck seeking for the Launceston City Council to voice support for the Bell Bay pulp mill failed at yesterday's meeting.

In a lengthy debate, the Council heard from 22 speakers from the large public audience, speaking both in favour of, and against, the motion.

However, the vote was lost narrowly 6-6, after more than two hours of discussion.

Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said while he did not personally support the mill, he believed it was no longer a matter for local government.

The only thing now holding the mill back, Mayor van Zetten said, was a lack of financial support.

"I would like to thank all the people who have contacted me on this matter, and let people on both sides know that I respect their views," Mayor van Zetten said.

"It is a very contentious issue -- I know there are doctors both for and against this proposal, accountants for and against it, nurses, teachers, plumbers, you name it. So many people for it, and so many against.

"However, if this pulp mill does get built, it will not depend on this Council. "If it is built it will because it gets the financial support."

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