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Friday, February 03, 2006

Fed Govt criticised over pulp mill funds. 04/02/2006. ABC News Online

Fed Govt criticised over pulp mill funds. 04/02/2006. ABC News Online

The Federal Government is under fire for paying $2.5 million to Tasmanian timber giant Gunns for its proposed pulp mill, after the funds promised before the 2004 election were tied to a plan with higher environmental standards.

Gunns dumped its plan for a totally chlorine free plant after the election.

It now includes contentious chlorine-related compounds for bleaching native timber.

The Government has revealed it recently made the payment.

Minister for Forestry Eric Abetz says a chlorine-free mill was not viable.

"That, of course, then was changed to an environmental best practice pulp mill, we looked at that and said fine," he said.

The Wilderness Society says the Government is funding broken promises.

The Tasmanian Greens' Peg Putt alleges it is a repayment for $70,000 donated by Gunns to the Liberals - revealed in electoral commission disclosures this week.

"This is the best investment Gunns ever made," she said.

"A $70,000 campaign donation to the Liberal Party and the Liberal Government in Canberra gives them $2.4 million."

Gunns has not returned calls.
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