Media reports October 2008

31 October Gunns' mill alternative is a $90m bullet. John Gay, vowed to keep seeking finance for the controversial project but could be forced to announce a write-down of $A90 million if the plans fall through. Business Spectator

31 October Gunns CEO John Gay blames the opposition to the planned pulp mill for stalling the acquisition of finance. The Mercury

31 October Gunns's planned $2.2 billion pulp mill would be "maintained in a position to proceed" while the company waits for financial markets to stabilise. Gunns has spent more than $90 million on the project but denied any time limit, saying "This company will continue for as long as it takes." Mr Gay said the firm was reviewing project costs to minimise cash outlays. Pulp prices had fallen but the mill would be competitive. Gunns have talked with potential partners in North America, Europe and Asia. Gay said a plan to sell $170 million worth of trees would be finalised soon. Gunns will lose its $15 million State Government sovereign risk agreement on November 30. The Mercury

30 October Gunns' annual meeting could provide some insights into progress on its $2 billion pulp mill project. The Examiner

30 October The Greens have failed in an attempt to call former premier Paul Lennon and Gunns chairman John Gay before the Bar of Parliament to answer allegations they may have conspired to fast-track the assessment of the pulp mill. The Mercury

29 October The State Forest Practices Authority is disappointed by the failure of Gunns to comply with industry regulations over the last financial year. ABC

28 October There is a push to bring the former Premier Paul Lennon and the Gunns chairman John Gay before State Parliament to explain the circumstances that led to last year's fast-track assessment of the pulp mill. Yahoo Business

28 October Greens say that evidence raised before the Legislative Council Committee Inquiry reveals that there is now a strong prima facie case that the Parliament was mislead and conned into passing the fast track Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007. “There is now even more of a reeking stench emanating from the Parliamentary approval process for the pulp mill, and we want to expose the truth of the whole sordid affair.” The Greens

28 October Greens responded to revelations contained in the Department of Premier and Cabinet Annual Report that the government spent nearly $200 000 advertising in support of Gunns Ltd’s pulp mill, describing it as ‘corporate welfare on an obscene scale’. The Greens

28 October A government driver has made an allegation that the former premier, Paul Lennon, had predicted that the pulp mill would be approved, a month before he announced legislation to fast track it through the Parliament. Now the Greens want to find out if a deal was done with the company to fast track the mill. ABC

28 October The global financial crisis might stop the forestry company Gunns from building a new pulp mill. Pulp and paper projects have already been either put on hold or scrapped, particularly in South America and in China. Even if Gunns manages to get finance, interest rates could be too high. ABC

27 October A parliamentary committee has heard the former Premier Paul Lennon was privately forecasting the speedy approval of the Gunns pulp mill, one month before he introduced a fast-track assessment process. ABC

24 October Gunns wants to block the release of a controversial report by the CSIRO on effluent discharge from the proposed pulp mill. Gunns say "We're concerned that if it's taken out of context, it will give people an erroneous view of the ongoing process". Greens say it can't be misrepresented because the scientist himself has described the context in which it should be read. Also, leading economic forecaster Access Economics said that Gunns' planned pulp mill development is "a goner". Gunns reject the claim and say "There is no data in the Access Economics statement to back up its claim". The Examiner

22 October Pulp mill opponents said the unanimous decision on the water pipeline by the West Tamar Council was a major rebuff to Gunns and deprived the company of crucial infrastructure. The State Government is looking into the decision. The Mercury

21 October The West Tamar Council unanimously voted not to sign a document that would allow Gunns to lay a water pipeline for the pulp mill across council-owned land. ABC

21 October Gunns say it may be December next year before its board approves the $2 billion pulp mill. In an offer to the West Tamar Council about buying a pipeline easement, Gunns say the "The agreement is conditional on Gunns' board approval for the acquisition by December 31, 2009." The Mercury

21 October Premier David Bartlett has sided with the forest industry. Mr Bartlett said that calls by the conservation movement to suspend old-growth logging, because of evidence they might be more valuable as carbon sinks, were nonsense. "This is bullshit -- this is just not true," the Premier said. The Australian

12 October The acting West Tamar Council Mayor Peter Kearney, says there is no problem accepting Gunns' lawyer's legal advice that Gunns has the right to build a pipeline for its proposed mill, across publicly-owned land. ABC

11 October Gunns proposed pulp mill has had another setback, with legal advice that it cannot build a vital water pipeline for the project across public land. The Australian

10 October Book review - 'Ten Commitments: Reshaping the Lucky Country's Environment', CSIRO Publishing $39.95. Professor David Lindenmayer asked the nation's top environmental thinkers to compile their lists of the top 10 actions urgently needed to save our forests, deserts, rivers, alpine areas and native wildlife. ABC

10 October Peter Cundall has savaged former Burke's Backyard TV presenter Don Burke over his new role as an adviser to Gunns on its proposed $2 billion project. "Basically, he is just being paid by Gunns." Burke said his new job would not compromise his reputation as an environmental pioneer. The Mercury

10 October Gunns' new environmental consultant, celebrity gardener Don Burke, has rejected a challenge for a live television debate against anti-pulp mill campaigner Peter Cundall. Burke wouldn't say how much Gunns was paying him, but maintained his integrity would not be bought by the timber company. The Examiner

9 October Gunns announced gardening show presenter Don Burke as a paid adviser to help it win public support for its stalled and unpopular $2 billion Tasmanian pulp mill. Many Tasmanians oppose the planned mill because the Lennon government fast-tracked it outside the planning process. The Australian

8 October John Gay has admitted the world economic crisis "makes financing more difficult because there is no money available." There was no set timeframe to find investors to bankroll the $2 billion mill. Investment analyst Citigroup warned Gunns it would need to raise more capital from shareholders before it could move ahead with the mammoth pulp-mill project. The Mercury

4 October Gunns has given Premier David Bartlett no indication during recent talks that it had secured finance for its planned pulp mill. The Advocate

3 October Gunns' retail share offer has closed with the company falling nearly $90 million short of its target. ABC

3 October Courts - the battleground for fight against Brazillian paper mills. The battle against the wood pulp industry has intensified in the courts, especially in those Brazilian states where eucalyptus plantations have expanded the most. The lawsuits are aimed primarily at irregularities in the environmental permits and agreements under which environmental impact studies are carried out. The legal cases stem from the harm caused by eucalyptus monoculture, like the rural exodus and unemployment, as well as environmental disasters like planting eucalyptus trees in protected areas or dumping toxins in rivers with complicit and negligent government. Those who oppose the paper pulp industry in Brazil are now fighting for transparency in October's municipal elections, rejecting candidates whose campaigns are financed by any of the paper companies. IPS News