Tasmanian deputy premier downplays mining-environment tussle

There are rumblings in Tasmania the environment movement is changing its focus from the forest sector to mining after the State Parliament passed the forest peace deal law.

But the state’s deputy premier and resources minister Bryan Green is playing down fears mining will become a battlefield between industry and environmentalists.

Green does not think the fight over mining will be as prolonged or serious as the forest conflict, the ABC reports.

He said the peace deal has helped bridge the gap between the government and environmentalists.

“We’ve established an enormous amount of good will,” he said.

“The forestry industry moved from coupe to coupe, it was always a different battlefield every day of the week.”

Premier Lara Giddings and Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howe warned the industry to be vigilant against extreme elements of the environmental movement while visiting the west coast tour this month.

Howes fears environmentalists are rallying for campaigns, particularly in the Tarkine region.

AWU organised a pro-mining rally in Burnie last year and more than 3,000 people attended, including mine workers.

However Green does not think mining is about to become a battlefield.

“The Rosebery mine has existed for 75 years.

“So the fact is you can have an argument about a mine but once a mine’s established, it could be there for 30-40 years. There’s not another coupe over the hill to argue about,” he said.

Tasmania’s annual mining conference started yesterday and Green expects is optimistic about the general mood.

Delegates from around the country are meeting in Hobart to discuss the industry’s situation and its future.

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