Field Guide to Falling in Love in Tasmania

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  • The Proposed Pulp Mill

    The Proposed Pulp Mill

    For visitors coming to Tasmania in search of love, one topic that may be useful to have some understanding of is called the Proposed Pulp Mill. For more than a decade now, the Proposed Pulp Mill has been generating controversy and stirring up the emotions of the good people of Tassie.

    For the uninitiated, allow me to sketch the story for you – in brief. Tasmania has a lot of trees, and not that much else, and so it made sense that not so long ago, the timber industry played a major role in the state economy. It was perhaps a little more concerning that one company, named Gunns, dominated this industry. When they announced that they would like to produce paper in Tasmania, and do so by building a pulp mill at the top of the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania, it was not surprising that politicians bent over backwards to try and let Gunns do what they wanted. Large numbers of the population, however, weren’t so keen on it, and protested, and litigated, and did what they could do stop the mill being built, citing health and environmental concerns, among others.

    Hindsight can reveal to us that many corrupt devices were used to put the Proposed Pulp Mill up during that cursèd decade. Politicians were sacked, executives went to gaol, and Gunns went out of business. Although not everyone was against the Proposed Pulp Mill, it seemed that Tasmanians breathed a general sigh of relief that the whole thing was over.

    Except it wasn’t over. In 2014, well over a decade on, it’s back on the table as Tasmania heads towards a state election. The economy isn’t good here, you see, and all sorts of idiots are making suggestions about how to fix it. I’m one of these idiots, of course. Tasmania’s economy is transitioning away from manufacturing and into tourism and food. (To impress you with a numerical figure: tourists contributed $1.464 billion to our economy between March 2012 and March 2013.) People are willing to invest in these fields because of Tasmania’s uniqueness geographically and environmentally. Ideas like the almighty Proposed Pulp Mill will only sabotage the growths we have in these areas.

    But that’s a conversation that the visitor to Tasmania might broach over the dinner table, with the parents of a new lover. If they dare.