Gunns have again failed to meet their legislated permit deadline to commence constructio..
On Sunday August 7 2011 Prime Minister Gillard and Premier Giddings
signed an agreement in the Country Club Casino Launceston, that is
supposed to bring peace to Tasmania's bitter forest disputes. TAP was
the only group represented there on that wintry morning. TAP also
'black-flagged' the 2011 State Labor Conference on Saturday August 6. We
joined nurses, teachers, police and other anti-mill groups including
CODE outside the State Labor Conference.
On Tuesday June 7 TAP 'black-flagged' the opening of the $70 million East Tamar Highway. TAP outnumbered David O'Byrne and his group of officials at the opening. When the TAP banner 'Gunns Says Thanks' arrived the officials went into a state of visible shock. This 'log truck highway' has always been about Gunns. Most of the water pipeline for their now abandoned mill travels in its corridor. Still unpaid for by Gunns.
On Wed May 25 TAP blackflagged Parliament House. The Greens presented the PMAA 2007 repeal bill inside at 4pm. Another succesful TAP action that shows the Tasmanian politicians who really runs Tasmania. We do! Predictably the LibLabs voted against the Grens motion and predictably they displayed their support for a non existant project. Does it get any weirder than that?
Community Groups TAP and TPEHN join in condemning the ‘forest principle agreement’ because it is very specifically tied to the delivery of the Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill.
As reported in The Australian yesterday, Bill Kelty said ‘green’ groups must strike a deal on the Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill or miss out on permanent protection of 565,000 hectares of native forest.
“There you have it. This is what the ‘roundtable’ negotiations have been about all along,” commented Dr Alison Bleaney of TPEHN.
“From the point of view of Gunns and the Labor Party, the forest ‘roundtable’ was about delivering the Long Reach pulp mill. From the ENGO’s side it was about delivering protection to native forest. They were the two glittering prizes up for grabs and to pretend otherwise is misleading,” said TAP spokesperson Bob McMahon.
“In order for both sides to get what they wanted it was important to exclude the community first and foremost. Why? Because it was expected that the community would be opposed to any trade-off of the sort so bluntly expressed by Kelty”, continued McMahon.
“After all, the community was going to have to pay the price for the sort of deal the forest industry negotiators had in mind. The community had to be sidelined and kept in the dark. Thus the secrecy. We were the sacrifice."
“That the blatantly undemocratic, rigged and secret ‘roundtable’ negotiations and the ‘forest principles’ that resulted (including in principle support for plantations and ‘a pulp mill’) received the enthusiastic support of the ALP is no surprise."
“That the Greens have also been enthusiastic supporters of the undemocratic negotiations as constituted, and the ‘forest principles’ that resulted from the illegitimate process, is deeply distressing for the community and incredibly damaging to the Greens themselves,” said McMahon.
“Kelty has made it abundantly clear that the success of the Gunns/ALP pulp mill is dependent on the signing of the ‘forest principles agreement’,” said Dr. Bleaney.
“Therefore, both TAP and TPEHN, demand that The Wilderness Society, Environment Tasmania and Australian Conservation Foundation either refuse to sign the agreement as it exists or insist that the Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill be specifically excluded from the agreement as a principle."
“We expect many other community groups will join us in making this demand”.
“It is not too late for the Greens to redeem themselves either”, confirmed Bob McMahon. “They will have to stop the doublethink and unequivocally withdraw their support for the ‘forest principles’ as they stand and the illegitimate roundtable process which produced them. It is not good enough for the Greens to say they do not support the Tamar Valley pulp mill while supporting a process designed from the very beginning to deliver that very same pulp mill.
“Dr Bleaney and I want to put this bizarre chapter of Tasmanian history into context. This is a monumental issue of social justice. Should the environment groups sign up to the ‘forest principles’ deal as it currently exists it will be viewed as a great betrayal of current and future generations of Tasmanians, whose social, economic and environmental horizons will be severely diminished and restricted by the demands Gunns mill will place on our basic resources of land and water and of the huge public subsidies the mill will need in order to compete against cheaper producers in developing countries.
For the Tamar Valley, Bass Strait and all Tasmanians...
STOP THE TAMAR VALLEY PULP MILL!!! Start time 11.30am.
Join Peter Cundall, Richard Flanagan, Kim Booth and spokespeople from anti-pulp mill groups at a peaceful community protest at the Batman Bridge Reserve.
We are gathering to assert our continued opposition to this mill for the following reasons:
1. Toxic effluent in Bass Strait
2. Threats to the livelihood and lifestyle of thousands of Tamar Valley residents
3. Fresh water usage
4. Possible future use of native forests
5. The draconian and undemocratic Section 11 of the Pulp Mill Assessment Act.
6. Lack of an independent, transparent assessment of a “critically non-compliant” mill
7. Lack of public hearings and community consultation
8. A complete lack of faith in Gunns.
Time: 11.30 start on Sunday 20th March.
When: 7.30pm Thursday 31 March 2011
Where: Beaconsfield Community Function Room at the rear of the sports centre on Weld Street, Beaconsfield.
What: Senators Christine Milne and Kerry O’Brien plus Members of the Tasmanian Parliament Tim Morris, Kim Booth, Rene Hidding and Kerry Finch will all be attending.
Why? Don’t miss your chance to have your say and tell them how Gunns’ proposed pulp mill continues to adversely affect your family, your business and your community. Tell them of your hopes for an alternative more prosperous future.
This is the third in a series of public meetings but the first to draw six politicians together to hear community concerns. A gold coin donation is welcome to help defray costs.
For further information call John Day 0400 079 339.
Note: the next regular general TAP meeting will be held in two weeks time (7.30pm, Thursday 14 April) at the Riverside Community Centre, West Tamar Highway.
This is a briefing paper on the current debate over the future of Tasmanian forestry and Gunns’ planned pulp mill prepared by TAP Into A Better Tasmania, November 2010. A pdf is available for downloading from below.
http://tapvision.info/sites/default/files/Briefing Paper for public release - Forestry and pulp mill - why the community is not buying the big sell.pdf
A stalled proposal for a world scale pulp mill, the slow motion collapse of the forest industry, the astonishing alignment of environmental groups behind industry for a plantation-based pulp mill and the prospect of big money changing hands marks an extraordinary period in a small island’s history.
So how did all this happen? It’s time to examine the causes in detail because to misdiagnose the causes invites the wrong solution. One solution being proposed, for example, involves ‘compensating’ the forest industry to the tune of over a billion dollars. But that in turn carries its own serious consequences eg. lack of funding for public hospitals.
The interpretation of the causes presented here provides a big picture perspective from a hitherto ignored community view, the one that the special interest groups involved don’t want to hear.
So how did we arrive at the point where the aims of some environment groups now mesh with industry, where conservationists signed up to support a plantation industry and a pulp mill in Tasmania, and the community was sidelined?
The story started decades ago.
CEO of Gunns Ltd, Greg L’Estrange told ABC Stateline (25.10.10) that Gunns would work “with the community so they understood what the pulp mill facility planned for the Tamar Valley is”.
We don’t feel confident that he will explain why his pulp mill will stink as do all others of this type around the world. So TAP Into A Better Tasmania has followed the foul odour trail through leaked letters, restricted terms of reference and incomplete reports to produce this Odour Advisory. It tells the story that Greg L’Estrange won’t and why it is a significant risk for business and health of the 100 000 people who live in the Tamar Valley.
The assessment of this issue carried out to date has looked only at odour from the stack, and not at odour which after about twelve months starts to leak from thousands of pipe seals and other leakage points. These fugitive emissions pose the biggest threat to your business, as they make up 98% of the odour escaping from pulp mills, including the most modern ones.
The Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC), which was initially given the task of assessing Gunns’ proposal, determined that the odour zone would have a radius of 55k around the Long Reach site. This odour will affect all wineries, tourist operators and other businesses in the zone; Tamar Ridge is of course only 5km from the site and will be one of the businesses worst affected.
This poses serious political, financial and project risks for potential joint venture partners and business investors alike. If a financial backer can be found, only one more regulatory hurdle (permit for marine discharge into Commonwealth waters in Bass Strait) has to be cleared before construction may begin.
The history of the failed assessment of odour is summarised in the next few paragraphs.
First published on Tasmanian Times
The Truth and Reconciliation Roadshow continued last week with a presentation by Gunns’ CEO to a conference run by investment bank UBS, coincidentally a Gunns’ shareholder.
The changes from the presentation which accompanied the release of Gunns’ preliminary 2010 financials in mid August were subtle and revealing of the future chosen path.
John Gay’s business model was then described as being “a conglomerate of long life low yielding assets…..(consisting of) many businesses….. excessive levels of encumbered assets .....excessive debt levels to earnings,..... (where) potential investors do not understand the business.”
The latest presentation includes further criticisms of the old model. Mr L’Estrange confirmed that Gunns was “cash negative” and was bedevilled by “aging inefficient assets”.
Cash negativity is a fairly serious condition. If it persists disaster usually awaits. Aging inefficient assets make the problem worse. Forget about a social license. Gunns needs cash and a more ‘efficient’ portfolio of assets.
In August the new look Gunns was to comprise a division devoted to ‘hardwood and softwood’ sawmilling.
This has now been revised to ‘softwood processing’ only. No mention of hardwood sawmilling. Literally, this means an exit from all hardwood sawmilling not just native forest sawmilling.
Normally a CEO when spruiking his Company will attempt to explain and justify the latest P&L Statement. UBS has been critical in the past of the book entries of Dickensian proportions that have been used to prepare Gunns’ financial accounts. Hence Greg didn’t dwell on Gunns’ appalling 2010 results. He was on a hiding to nothing. He simply said “if your investment focus is purely about this year’s trading, GNS is not your stock”.
Never a truer word has been uttered.
TAP supports promotion of Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment (TIDE) and a shift in government policies towards promoting more diversified resilient sustainable development based on Tasmania’s unique clean island qualities, niche markets and favourable climate. But Gunns' proposed pulp mill is damaging to TIDE and displaces opportunities for community and regional growth.
Adapted from the Cool Cities program, Michigan, USA, the acronym TIDE represents four conditions that are holistic and systemic rather than causal. Each one is necessary but by itself is insufficient for generating long term prosperity. To attract creative people, generate innovation and stimulate economic growth, there must be substantial, balanced performance across all four.
In TAP’s assessment, Gunns’ proposed pulp mill has a negative effect on Talent, Innovation, Diversity and Environment and therefore scores a fail on each condition.
Reproduced from Tasmanian Times
On the morning of Friday August 27th, pulp and paper analyst Robert Eastment was interviewed live on ABC936 by talkback host Tim Cox about the forestry roundtable talks, and Gunns proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.
During his interview Mr Eastment claimed that there are pulp mills now being built in the middle of cities in Europe and nobody cares because they’re quite comfortable with it; er, you know, the technology is such that you can put this sort of manufacturing facility in the middle of large areas, um, that sort of understanding is still not widespread in Tasmania.
Mr Eastment’s claim that there are pulp mills now being built in the middle of cities in Europe and nobody cares, was immediately challenged by Greens Senate candidate and Tamar Valley resident Peter Whish-Wilson. Whish-Wilson said the only new pulp mill he knew of that had been built recently anywhere near a European city was the Stendal mill in East Germany, a mill that has had more than its fair share of problems, and is well-known as the source of foul odours that impact badly on surrounding residents. Whish-Wilson called on Eastment to clarify his claim and point to pulp mills that are being built now in the middle of cities in Europe.
Robert Eastment responded Monday morning, August 30th, by providing ABC936 with a list of the pulp mills that he was referring to last Friday.
Unfortunately for Mr Eastment, there is a major problem with his list
TAP is not an environment group and is not politically-aligned. We have fought successfully for 10 years to stop Gunns and the State and Federal Governments from building a 1.1million tonnes PA pulp mill in a valley that is home to 100,000 people on the island of Tasmania.
TAP was the first group to oppose a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. We were originally called TRAC which became TAP Into A Better Tasmania. TAP was also the first community group in Tasmania to oppose industrial tree plantations.
TAP has prevailed over almost insurmountable odds to prevent dangerous, corrupt and irresponsible people from degrading the Tamar Valley in Tasmania. TAP uses imaginative and bold actions to defend Tasmania from Gunns, their successors and their political cronies. TAP provides a stimulating informaton forum in the Tamar Valley.