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Gunn’s pulp mill permit lapses so land now for sale

Andrea Dawkins

One of Tasmania’s most controversial issues – a proposal for a $2.5 billion pulp mill at Bell Bay – is finally over. Sources: The Mercury, The Examiner, The Bendigo Advertiser

Permits to build the pulp mill, originally proposed by collapsed timber giant Gunns Limited, lapsed.

A spokesman for Gunns Limited receivers, Korda Mentha, said it would not contest the lapsing of the permits because there was no prospect of a developer being interested.

He said Korda Mentha would instead try to sell the land at Bell Bay and that they had been obliged to wait until the permits lapsed before proceeding with an attempt to sell the land.

“Receivers will now be able to start serious discussions with parties who expressed an interest,” he said.

The land, with or without the permits, has been on the market for more than two years.

Gunns Ltd spent about $230 million on research and getting the pulp mill permits in place before collapsing in 2012.

The spokesman said conditions in the international pulp market meant a sale would not occur.

The pulp mill saga ran from 2007 and involved political drama over the approval processes and huge opposition from environmentalists.

Gunns bankers ANZ bank would not finance the mill and Gunns attempted to bring in partners without success.

The Greens will table a bill when Parliament resumes next month to repeal the Pulp Mill Assessment Act and bury the project for good.

The previous Labor government, with support from the Liberals, extended the permit conditions under the act to this year

Bass Greens MHA Andrea Dawkins said the party would table legislation in the spring session of Parliament to repeal the entire act.

“The expiration of the pulp mill permits means the Tamar Valley community is one step closer to ending this sorry saga that has plagued them for fifteen years,” Ms Dawkins said.

“People within that community were vilified and abused for standing up for their right to live in a place with clean air and water.”

A previous move to repeal the Pulp Mill Assessment Act was defeated in 2011.

The state government have said it would not be offering the project any more support.