Letter to the Editor

Call for transparency on chipmill DAs

Bega Valley Shire Council must apply the highest standards of transparency and accountability in deciding on Development Applications (DAs) from the Eden chipmill.

Chipmill owners want to build a new mill for briquettes and pallets and extra log storage area.

If these projects proceed it will have enormous consequences for the shire, the region and beyond. It should not be determined by an anonymous public servant.

ANWE’s capacity will expand and its output will expand. Critically, without BVSC approval for a new mill, it will have no legal right to logs under the Eden Region Sawlog Wood Supply Agreement.

At last week’s council meeting Greens Councillor Cathy Griff unsuccessfully moved to ensure that elected Councillors, not staff, make the decision.

Speakers against the motion clearly stated that if a matter was controversial or if there were enough public submissions against it, then Councillors, not staff, should decide. They then went on to vote against Cr Griff’s motion.

There were 126 submissions on the DA for the new mill; only one (24 words) supported it; all others opposed it.

Woodchipping has been highly contested since it started in this region 50 years ago.

The campaign against it is the longest continuous environmental campaign in Australia.

Surely these facts alone make it controversial and incumbent on Councillors to stand up and be counted.

Harriett Swift

29 July 2020


[1] DAs (10-2020-249-1) Log storage area Bushfire 2020 and (10-2020-81-1) Timber Optimisation Hub