Richard Chandler's decision to withdraw from AU$150M investment in Gunns is 'bitter blow to all Tasmanians,' says premier, blaming 'anti-development campaigns' by conservationists

HOBART, Tasmania , March 9, 2012 (press release) – The Premier, Lara Giddings, said she was disappointed that the Richard Chandler Corporation had chosen to withdraw from its $150 million investment in Gunns Limited.

“This news will come as a bitter blow to all Tasmanians who want to see jobs created at a time of considerable uncertainty,” Ms Giddings said.

“Despite today’s decision by the Chandler Corporation, I remain hopeful that the pulp mill project will be realised, bringing with it the promise of 3000 jobs in the construction phase alone.”

Ms Giddings said the State Government had met with representatives of the Richard Chandler Corporation twice in recent weeks, expressing support for Gunns and the pulp mill project.

“Will Hodgman and I have both met with representatives of the corporation, sending a strong message that the majority of the Tasmanian Parliament supports the pulp mill project.”

Ms Giddings said she would be extremely disappointed if the orchestrated and well-funded campaigns of conservation groups had led to the Chandler Corporation’s decision.

“We know that from the time this potential investment was first announced, the Chandler Corporation has been fiercely lobbied by conservation groups not to invest in Gunns.

“These anti-development campaigns are not unique to Tasmania and they should be a concern for the national business community.

“Millionaires like Graeme Wood are already rallying the troops to take on the mining industry in Western Australia and Queensland.

“I agree with the TCCI that we need business leaders to stand together against these campaigns and continue to invest in job-creating industries.

“We need to ensure that the voice of the majority is not crowded out by that of a noisy minority.

“Now, more than ever, we need to focus on jobs, particularly in world’s best practice, sustainable and value-added projects like the Gunns pulp mill.

“The Liberal Opposition will attempt to make much of the fact that Nick McKim also met with representatives of the Chandler Corporation.

“Let me make it absolutely clear that I do not share the Greens’ views on the pulp mill or on forestry generally.

“He and his party have had long-held views against the pulp mill that predate the Tasmanian minority government and, in that respect, it makes little difference where he sits in Parliament, his influence would be exactly the same.

“What is far more important is the fact is that 80 per cent of the Tasmanian Parliament supports a pulp mill.”

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