Media reports August 2010

30 August 2010 The Independent candidate for Denison is demanding an incoming federal government withdraw Commonwealth approvals for the proposed Gunns pulp mill in northern Tasmania. Andrew Wilkie claimed victory in the Hobart-based seat at the weekend but has not yet made up his mind about which party to support in a minority government. Mr Wilkie is meeting Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard this afternoon and has released a list of issues important for his decision. Mr Wilkie has previously said he would support a mill that was genuinely pollution-free and water and energy efficient. ABC

28 August 2010 Shifting a pulp mill proposed for Bell Bay, to a site at Hampshire - six years after both sites were shortlisted - would require a new feasibility study, according to a Burnie business leader who has rolled out the welcome mat to proponent Gunns Ltd. Burnie Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Andrew Barry also said much of the plantation timber in the North-West was now closer to harvesting, making any switch of site more viable. The timber giant would not comment about Hampshire yesterday, saying discussions involving both sides of the forestry debate was ongoing. However, it is understood Gunns has so far invested up to $200 million in progressing its controversial Tamar Valley pulp mill proposal, which lacks finance and the support of conservationists at the roundtable. Just how much of the $200 million would be written off following a Hampshire switch is unclear given some of the preliminary work would not require duplication. "It's always made sense to be at Hampshire from a political perspective but the business case might not have been as strong five years ago," Mr Barry said. "Unless the company undertakes full assessment again on both sites on prevailing market conditions and taking all the new data into account given the time lapse, we are not going to know are we? Advocate

27 August 2010 It appears unlikely Gunns would be willing to go back to the drawing board on its pulp mill proposal even if that's what it would take to get conservation groups to back a mill in the Tamar Valley. A draft proposal has circulated among conservation and industry groups involved in forestry peace talks includes in- principle support for a Tasmanian pulp mill. However, the current proposal in the Tamar Valley is still a sticking point, with Gunns moving forward with it and environmental groups vowing never to support it as it stands. When asked if it would consider a new proposal on the same site, Gunns had no comment yesterday. But previously the company has said it intends to go ahead with the mill now that it has all the approvals. Examiner

26 August 2010 Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim says it is unlikely Gunns' planned pulp mill will ever be built in the Tamar Valley. Leaked documents have revealed a possible deal between conservation groups and the forestry industry on a highly controversial pulp mill proposed in the north of Tasmania. Conservationists and representatives from the timber industry have been in talks for months, trying to find a common vision for the future of forestry in the state. The documents, obtained by the ABC, outline the broad terms for a draft agreement including a moratorium on the logging of high conservation value forests within 30 days. In exchange, conservation groups would need to drop their opposition to a plantation-based timber processing facility. But Mr McKim says the Greens will not support Gunn's current pulp mill proposal. Business Yahoo

25 August 2010 Gunns has said its Bell Bay pulp mill project is still "being held in a ready status" over a year after saying it had secured a partner for the project. The company made the announcement in its 2009/10 financial results, which showed a 49.3% drop in net profit to $28.5m for the year. Gunns has obtained all but one of the environmental approvals to build the Bell Bay mill and been given the go-ahead to begin construction by the federal government, but has yet to secure a financial backer. The company had been expected to announce a financial partner for the mill over a year ago, but has struggled against the tough economic backdrop. The company announced a financial restructure of the project in February, as it posted a staggering 98.7% fall in profits in its half-year results.

25 August 2010 Premier David Bartlett yesterday denied the compulsory acquisition of land for the Dilston bypass was a ruse to enable Gunns access to a route for its pulp mill water supply pipeline. "The Dilston bypass corridor was acquired solely for road purposes," Mr Bartlett said. Examiner

24 August 2010 The Tasmanian Greens today continued to hold Premier David Bartlett to account over the decision to compulsorily acquire private land for a four-lane highway along the Dilston Bypass that would obviously never be built, and to then gift the use of that land to Gunns for the construction of a pipeline that is essential for Gunns’ contentious pulp mill proposal. Greens Forests spokesperson and Member for Bass, Kim Booth MP, said the landowners originally refused to sell their land to Gunns for the pipeline so Bartlett Labor has stepped in and used the possible future construction of a completely unnecessary four-lane Dilston Bypass as a Trojan Horse to acquire private land on behalf of a private company. “It is patently obvious that the possibility of a four-lane Dilston Bypass was cynically used by David Bartlett and Labor as a Trojan Horse to allow the seizure of private land on behalf of Gunns Limited,” said Mr Booth. “The seizure of private property on behalf of a private developer is unconscionable and a chilling warning to all Tasmanians that if Bartlett Labor or Gunns Limited want your land then they will take it from you.” Greens

19 August 2010 Gunns is pinning hopes for its $2.2 billion pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania on an improving global pulp outlook, as a potential investment decision appears to inch closer. 'Three interested parties have progressed from the initial bid process and are undertaking detailed due diligence in relation to the investment,' the company said. But it believes demand in the Asia-Pacific region for pulp will soon outstrip supply, leaving the mill in a strong competitive position. Gunns has also outlined plans to build a 'social licence' for the mill, a key requirement if the pulp product is to gain Forest Stewardship Council certification. Business Day

17 August 2010 Gunns said its 2010 full-year net profit was estimated at $28 million compared with $56.2 million achieved in the previous financial year. It flagged an impairment charge of $98.1 million, which mostly related to the write-down of non-core assets and businesses that were prepared for sale or closure, and the carrying value of other assets. Farm Online

6 August 2010 Gunns has confirmed it has negotiated with the Government to use an easement along the Dilston bypass for the water pipeline. Land owner Gerald Archer says he has had no contact with Gunns or the State Government about the pipeline for two and a half years. An anti-pulp mill group wants the Tasmanian Premier to stop a water pipeline for the Gunns pulp mill. Vanessa Bleyer from the anti-pulp mill group, Friends of the Tamar Valley says the Government and Gunns are taking away private landowners' rights. "It's okay for the private land to be compulsorily acquired for a road because it's going to serve a benefit to the community but how is it okay for someone's private land to be taken away for a private purpose for Gunns' pipeline?" she asked. ABC

5 August 2010 Gunns has been given permission to build its controversial pulp mill pipeline on land compulsorily acquired for the Dilston bypass on the East Tamar. Farmer Gerald Archer had refused to negotiate with Gunns over a route through his land for the $40 million water pipeline, without which the $2.5 billion mill could not go ahead. However, DIER compulsorily acquired a 70m-wide corridor comprising a total of 11.96ha for the bypass in November 2009. DIER spokesman Simon Hiscock said at the time the move was "entirely unrelated to the construction of the Gunns pipeline which is a separate matter for negotiation by Gunns". Greens pulp mill spokesman Kim Booth said allowing the pipeline was an unbelievable act of betrayal of farming families by the State Government. "There has been a manipulation of the Land Acquisition Act where they bought an easement about twice as wide as they really needed on the chance that they might one day need a four-lane highway," he said. Mercury