Chipmill expansion approval must be reconsidered

South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA) has congratulated member group, South East Forest Rescue Inc on its successful legal action which will force the Bega Valley Shire Council to reconsider a Development Application from the owners of the Eden chipmill.

A Development Application (DA) for a “Timber Optimisation Hub” by Allied Natural Wood Enterprises Pty Ltd (ANWE) sought approval to expand the chipmill processing capacity, allowing it to manufacture pallets and briquettes from Eden Region sawlogs in addition to its ongoing woodchip exports.

The approval was originally made back in September last year, but declared “invalid, void and of no force and effect” by Judge Robson in the Land and Environment Court on 24 August. The judge set aside the DA and granted an injunction to stop the work.

SERCA spokesperson, Harriett Swift said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the native forest logging industry in the Eden Region depends on the chipmill getting this approval. It is that serious.”

Ms Swift said: “When the DA came before Council last year it was dealt with as if it was just a couple of colourbond sheds, but there was a lot more at stake than that.”

“It’s a condition of ANWE’s sawlog Wood Supply Agreement with the Forestry Corporation that it must build the new mill to process sawlogs and it is also a legal requirement that logging operations must not be driven by woodchipping; they are illegal unless they are driven by saw logging.”

“In spite of overwhelming public opposition to the DA, the BVSC staff delegate approved it.”

“There were more than 150 public submissions opposing the DA for the new mill, and only one supporting it, and that was a single sentence submission of just 24 words,” she said.

“This region has been through a lot over the past 2 years and we should not be making things worse by making a short sighted decision that will hasten climate change and make more bushfires more likely in the future,” she said.

7 September 2021
Contact: Harriett Swift