Media reports for December 2009

19 December Japanese companies have demanded Tasmania provide them with Forest Stewardship Council accredited woodchips. Forestry Tasmania and Tasmania's dominant timber company Gunns Limited have previously shunned the internationally recognised FSC certification standard because of its close links with global green groups. Forestry Tasmania developed its own alternative, the Australian Forestry Standard, to prove to its customers that all timber logged and sold from the state came from sustainably managed forests. However, pressure from affluent Japanese and European consumers keen to buy only FSC-approved paper from Japanese manufacturers because of its top green credentials appears to have forced Forestry's hand. The FSC demand is crucial to Tasmania selling its native forest woodchips at good prices into oversupplied world markets. Mercury

1 December Gunns still has not secured finance. Now it looks as though the company may have another headache, trying to fulfil its commitment to use local workers to build the mill. When trying to sell the benefits of the proposal to the community, Gunns and the Tasmanian Government promised hundreds of local builders would be employed in the project's construction. But a boom in building work across the state is filling construction company books and soaking up the pool of skilled labour. The union's Tony Benson said Gunns would struggle to find a workforce if it started building the mill any time within the next two years. Tasmania's biggest construction company, Fairbrother, has confirmed it has not been contacted by Gunns about supplying workers. The state's other major labour supplier, John Holland, has previously raised doubts its four-year-old agreement to provide labour for the project still stands. Industry analyst Robert Eastment says the project has been run up and down the flagpole one too many times. He says construction companies are no longer willing to hold off on committing to other contracts. ABC