Media reports July 2009

30 July Forest contractors are being forced to lay off staff because of unfair contracts. The Tasmanian Forest Contractors Association says Forestry Tasmania's and Gunns Limited's contracts had no quota guarantees. Chief executive officer Ferdie Kroon said the contracts provided no certainty of income to service loans for equipment. "Requests for contract amendments are being met with 'take it or leave it' from two of the major principals," Mr Kroon said. The contractor concerns come amid a significant downturn in the forestry industry. The Mercury

24 July Gunns is reviewing its sponsorships as it comes to terms with the bitter fallout over its $2.2 billion pulp mill. New chief executive Greg L'Estrange said that the tens of thousands of dollars donated to the community each year was not secure. "People keep wanting us to keep putting money back into the community but they need to want us as well." The company's review comes after years of debate about the Bell Bay project. While he would not say anything about negotiations with a preferred joint venture partner, he said there would be a future for Gunns if the mill didn't proceed. The Examiner

20 July Despite not having a joint venture partner or finance, Gunns confirmed that preparatory work will start next month on the Bell Bay site and the associated water pipeline route. People living near the proposed sites of work had been advised of the start-work. Led by anti-mill group TAP into a Better Tasmania, the (West Tamar) residents have lobbied the West Tamar Council not to allow Gunns access to an easement on the council-owned land in Trevallyn and Riverside for the pipeline. Gunns will not provide an update on how many landholders it has come to agreement with on the East Tamar for the pipeline. It has previously said that if all 20-odd landholders don't agree to an acquisition for the pipeline easement, the pulp mill would not be built. The Examiner

18 July The Supreme Court has blocked efforts to get more information on how Gunns' pulp mill was approved. Three Tamar Valley residents -- Winemaker Peter Whish-Wilson, walnut farmer Lucy Landon-Lane and remedial massage therapist Stephanie Taylor, along with Environment Tasmania, took the State Government to court in a bid to to find out the reasons for several decisions made in the lead-up to the approval of the $2 billion mill. The Government refused to detail the basis for decisions made under the Pulp Mill Assessment Act, based on legislation which prevented any legal challenge to the mill's approval, construction or operation. University of Tasmania corporate governance lecturer Tom Baxter said Parliament went too far putting the no-challenge provision in the act. The Mercury

4 July The scandal, controversy and speculation surrounding Gunns' pulp mill has become a part of life in Tasmania. There are schoolchildren who were the proverbial twinkle in their parents' eyes when the saga began. The debate has tarnished the political careers of some while breathing life into others, helped fund the retirement of scores of lawyers and divided an already fractured community. After at least five years of wrangling, victory for either side remains elusive. Politicians continue to find a definite position as difficult to locate as one of those smelly fugitive odours so feared by the mill's opponents. The Austalian

2 July The Greens have seized on documents showing Gunns was warned about emissions from its proposed pulp mill in 2005. Letters leaked to the ABC's 7.30 Report reveal the Resource, Planning and Development Commission had strong concerns Gunns was failing to address fugitive emissions. The Mercury

1 July On Monday a spokesman for Gunns assured The Australian that the company had "ticked the box" on FSC certification for the feedstock of its proposed $2.2 billion pulp mill. Turns out Gunns has not done any such thing. Indeed, according to Australia's FSC, Gunns has never actually made application for certification of any feedstock arrangements, let alone those for the proposed Tamar mill. Challenged on this yesterday, the spokesman agreed Gunns had not applied for FSC but it had instead secured Australian Forestry Standard certification, which the company claims is "mutually recognised" under the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. FSC certification is listed by Sodra of Sweden as one of three core prerequisites for investment in any southern hemisphere pulp mill project. Sodra says projects must (also) use a chlorine-free bleaching process called TFC and use 100 per cent plantation feedstock. Given Gunns hasn't got FSC certification, is not planning to use the TFC process at the Tamar project and will be using re-growth forest as feedstock for at least five years, it does not appear to tick any of those Sodra boxes. The Australian

1 July The Gunns pulp project in Northern Tasmania could start construction within three months but for one problem – Australian banks are too frightened of the environmentalists to loan relatively small sums to the project. Overseas banks are prepared to stump up almost all the money required but Gunns still needs one or two Australian banks to loan the project at least $50 million, but preferably $100 million. So far, Australian banks' fear of the environmentalists runs so deep that there are no takers. The Business Spectator

1 July The Federal Forestry Minister Tony Burke has ruled out providing any funding to Gunns to help the company proceed with its plans to build the Bell Bay pulp mill. ABC

1 July Gunns is within $100 million of achieving finance for its pulp mill, says Robert Gottliebsen who is a commentator close to Gunns. And that a European paper group "has all but signed off on the project". The Mercury