81% of respondents to a recent Launceston Chamber of Commerce member survey support the construction and operation of a Pulp Mill at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct on condition it is economically and environmentally sustainable.

11% of respondents did not support the Pulp Mill and 8% were not sure. Maree Tetlow, Executive Officer, Launceston Chamber of Commerce, said “It was important to survey our members on this current issue, given a number of members perceive there has been a misguided approval process and misrepresentation of the facts. However, in the current economic climate we need to consider what the future is for our region. Northern Tasmania particularly needs a broad mix of industry sectors and business. We rely heavily on all aspects of our economy functioning well and industry plays a key role in ensuring the economic wheel keeps turning.

With just under 10% of Tasmanian households generating actual wealth – industry is vital for Tasmanian prosperity. If more than one major corporate entity is interested in constructing and operating a world’s best green technology mill at the Bell Bay Industrial Precinct we should represent our member’s views and support it,” she said. In a briefing with Martin Ferguson, former Federal Minister and Norm Mcilfatrick, head of DIER the Chamber was advised that the Pulp Mill in its current form sits very well in the lowest quartile of costs to operate compared to similar mills around the globe.

Ms Tetlow said “We have been advised that this project is not only significant to Tasmania from an employment and economic impact perspective - it has national significance – particularly in light of the announced car manufacturing closures.” Chamber members who opposed the Pulp Mill highlighted issues like the negative impact the mill would have on the tourism industry. “Those with international experience have pointed out that all these sectors can co-exist. A major development of this size creating 300 direct jobs and around 2,700 indirect jobs will help sustain the ‘new economy’ industries including tourism and retail so our economy can move to a whole new level. Major industry supports employment, local suppliers, contractors and small to medium enterprises ensuring more money in people’s back pockets. In turn this supports cash flow into local communities – to support schools, health providers, local services, hospitality, tourism, housing and development.”

Ms Tetlow concluded “Every Tasmanian wants a clean and safe environment for our children and grandchildren – but we also want a future that includes employment prospects and new opportunities in a diverse range of industries, so the next generation have the choice to stay and work in Tasmania.”

Note: The survey was constructed so that only one response per member was permitted. Each member was asked to reflect the position of their organisation. A total of 95 members responded to the survey and included a cross section of industries and business sizes.