Media reports for January 2010


30 January 2010 Tasmanian timber company Gunns has dropped legal action against a group of conservationists. The company took action in 2004 against 17 environmentalists and three organisations, claiming they had hurt its business by protesting, trespassing and damaging machinery. Now Gunns has announced it will pay $155,000 towards the legal costs of the four remaining defendants to end the proceedings. ABC

22 January 2010 The State Government paid $239,000 for an under-road crossing for Gunns Limited's pulp mill water pipeline shortly before Premier David Bartlett drew his "line in the sand" to end government support for the project by November 30 that year. Pulp mill project manager Les Baker asked Department of Economic Development secretary Norm McIlfatrick for help to pay for the box culvert under the Batman Highway-East Tamar Highway interchange in April 2008. Mr Baker pleaded that Gunns was under "extreme financial pressure". Gunns reported a $64.5 million profit for the 2007-08 financial year. Mercury

22 January 2010 Minister David Llewellyn's business trip to Japan has been labelled a mercy dash to keep timber giant Gunns' woodchip industry alive. And timber industry sources yesterday confirmed that the subject of discussion at meetings between Mr Llewellyn, Japanese business interests and Gunn's executive chairman John Gay would be woodchips. Industry sources say that Mr Gay would be trying to regain markets for his company's woodchips. Gunns refused to comment. Examiner

8 January 2010 The long-term wood supply agreement between Forestry Tasmania and Gunns will not be renegotiated to exclude native timber. Gunns announced that its proposed $2.5billion pulp mill would operate totally on plantation timber, sparking calls from The Wilderness Society to renegotiate the wood supply deal to exclude native forest woodchips. The Wilderness Society says the wood supply deal locks in more than one million tonnes of native forest wood for the next 20 years. Gunns spokesman Matt Horan said yesterday that operations outside of the pulp mill were reliant on the wood supply deal and that it would not be renegotiated. Mr Horan would not comment on the cost implications of the decision to make the pulp mill feedstock 100 per cent plantation wood. Examiner

7 January 2010 Up to one million tonnes of pulpwood a year could be shipped to Bell Bay from Victoria after Gunns announced yesterday that its controversial pulp mill would operate totally on plantation timber from managed investment scheme plantations formerly controlled by Great Southern. Gunns chairman John Gay told the ASX that discussions with equity partners and bankers for the mill were "continuing positively". Both the State Government and Liberals welcomed the announcement. The Tasmanian Greens and The Wilderness Society and lobby group Our Common Ground said more needed to be done to protect Tasmania's native forests. Examiner