The announcement by Minister Garrett on the remaining pulp mill modules will be made on or before 5 January

The decision by Minister of the Environment, Peter Garrett, on the remaining pulp mill modules submitted by Gunns will be announced on or before Monday 5 January.

The Federal Government was surprised by the huge public opposition to the planned pulp mill when it visited northern Tasmania in November 2008. However, that is no guide as to Garrett's likely decision on the remaining modules.

TAP's analytical team has concluded that Garrett will sign off on all pulp mill modules. From past form, the government will try to limit the political fallout. This is generally done by making unpopular announcements in the holiday season, by making an anouncement late in the day and by creating some form of distraction eg. announcing some other event.

The announcement will shock and anger many in the community who believe that the government is there to represent them.

TAP is preparing a massive response for Tuesday 6 January. Get ready to take part, pass the word around at the office parties and Christmas barbeques. More details to come.

 

"Last Words: The Tamar Valley and 2009" by Peter Henning


WHAT IS IT about the Tamar Valley which has made its people, its communities, its diverse and productive businesses and its natural and man-made attractions so completely lacking in worth and value, so completely insignificant, like a newly-identified terra nullius, a kind of territorial tabula rasa, to the majority of Tasmania’s elected political “representatives”?

Court appearance for smoke flare in politician's office

Grindelwald

8th December, 2008

Dear TAP Members,

My absolute heartfelt thanks go out to all members for their unwavering support leading up to my court appearance after letting off steam (a non-hazardous smoke flare) in Michelle O’Byrne’s building back on June 5, World Environment Day.

To those who attended the proceedings today, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart and for your generous contributions to defray costs.

Unrecognised fog hazard of the planned Tamar Valley pulp mill

Dr Warwick Raverty is a pulp and paper specialist served on the Resource Planning Development Commission before Gunns' withdrew its proposal for a pulp mill.

He sent this advice (29 November 2008) about a serious but hitherto unrecognised risk from Gunns' planned pulp mill.

Premier Bartlett - give us a 'no pulp mill' for Christmas

Premier Bartlett,

 

From tomorrow, December 1st, there are twenty four sleeps before Christmas.

When you extended Gunns Sovereign Risk agreement, till today, the 30th of November, you promised a number of things:

It's not quite dead, it's only moribund.


It's the bottom line $$$$$$tupid!

Sovereign Risk and Wood Supply Agreement with Gunns - the secret history

November 30, 2008 is a key date for the status of both the $15m Sovereign Risk Agreement and the 20 year Wood Supply Agreement between the State Government, Forestry Tasmania and Gunns.

The Government has said it has drawn a "line in the sand" of no further assistance to Gunns past November 30.

However, as author Peter Henning pointed out "It is clear, of course, that the Bartlett government and the Hodgman opposition will ignore the interests of the people and communities of the Tamar Valley in whatever further legislative or regulatory action the Parliament takes on behalf of Gunns. That is a foregone conclusion, as has been consistently demonstrated in all their actions in relation to the pulp mill." See http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/the-millstone/ for the full article.

The secret shadowy history of the Agreements below shows the rotten heart of “parliamentary democracy” in Tasmania.

Read more at Government Agreements Watch

Questions for John Gay at Gunns' Annual General Meeting 30 Oct 08

Report on Gunns AGM 30 October 2008 by a TAP insider shareholder

Security for the annual general meeting was high. All meeting goers were vetted at the boom gate. Police were present with the paddy wagon and about 50 members of TAP greeted shareholders with a song as they passed through the gates.

The AGM was held in a room that had the heating turned up very high. No recording devices were allowed into the meeting so notes were scribbled down as the meeting progressed.  CEO John Gay took the floor and responded to most questions but did not answer many directly. In the call for apologies, Robin Gray volunteered 'Crikey' (to his own amusement).

Question re uncertainty over the project

'Main reason for the hold up is the opposition of people (whilst purposively looking at those in the room). It's not Gunns holding up the mill, it is anti-progress, anti-development people who are holding it up.  (And later in the meeting) 'There are not many protesters against Gunns'.

Questions re negotiations with partners
'Gunns has had positive discussions with joint venture partners.'   'Equity partners are pulp mill operators.'  'Joint venture partner will not take a majority interest, only 20 to 25%.'

Question re decline in shares coinciding with the pulp mill project

'Yes, the anti-pulp mill people have had an effect'.

Question - when will you abandon the mill?

Answer -'never' (to applause). 'We will keep the project on the books as long as it takes'. 'Gunns has confirmed with suppliers that the mill is a goer'. 'It is ready for construction as soon as finance is arranged'.

Question re fast tracking the mill

John Gay denied discussions with Premier Paul Lennon before pulling out from the Resource Planning and Development Commission.

Question re government permit approval process 

'Getting the modules signed off is no trouble'. 'The government has shown extreme generosity to Gunns. As shareholderes, you should be happy.'

Question re payments to Andritz (Finnish pulp machinery builder)  

'Some money has been paid for long lead items.' 'The contract can just sit there. No equipment has been built.' 'The mill size is locked in.'

Questions re plantations

'Gunns has more plantations in the North East than anywhere else in Tasmania.' 'Gunns is improving productivity whilst working in harmony with the environment.' Carlton Frame (sustainability manager) – 'one third of Tasmania's emissions are being absorbed by plantations. They are being managed in perpetuity, never going to cut them down. Gunns has a neutral or less than neutral carbon footprint. A pulp mill will make that even better.'

 

 Prepared shareholder questions

1) Gunns Manager of Sustainable Resources, Calton Frame said at a recent public meeting (Tail Race Centre) on the pulp mill that the company had completed a risk assessment study of the pulp mill.  There is no broad ranging risk assessment study published in Gunns' IIS.
  a). Has Gunns since carried out a broad ranging risk assessment of the proposal?
  b). If so, has it been done to Treasury standards?
  c).  Has it been made available to shareholders to assist with investment decisions?

Answer - no answer. Carlton Frame asked that it be taken on notice. No reply has been received.
 
2) In the current economic climate the pulp mill is completely unviable.  When will the Board members recognise the reality of this fact,  accept their responsibility both for the loss of company profits, and the drop in the share price, and step down from their position? 

Answer -  sidestepped
 
3) Currently, within a 5 km zone of the proposed pulp mill site, house and property sales have already collapsed, directly as a result of the pulp mill proposal, and local residents are already undertaking to protect themselves with a Class Action. This poses a serious risk both to Gunns' future, and its ability to attract financiers. What strategies do the Board have in place to counter this risk?

No record of an answer to this question in the notes.
 
4) Gunns recently failed to obtain council approval for its pulp mill pipeline   easements  in the West Tamar. As you are aware, if there is no water supply, then there is no mill. The company has staked its future on the pulp mill project; some commentators have described it as a "bet the company" scenario.
  a) How many properties are left to sign?
  b) Can the Board advise as to pipeline progress, and on how many kilometres of pipeline easement have been signed over from Trevallyn Dam to the mill site?

Answer - John Gay expressed surprise as to how well the negotiations were going. 'As a shareholder you should understand that this confidential'. 'There are always one or two who might cause problems'.
 
5) Gunns Ltd claims to be a proud Tasmanian company, but the withdrawal from the RPDC pulp mill approval process has resulted in both Tasmania and Gunns being criticised, and ridiculed, throughout Australia - and indeed the world.  Recent revelations in state parliamentary hearings suggest the company was clearly in no position to begin construction within the timeframes John Gay had indicated to the media at the time.
Given also that the head of the RPDC had already identified areas of 'critical non-compliance' within the IIS, was the decision to withdraw from the RPDC process due to an awareness that approval would not be received, rather than misleading and inaccurate timescale reasons?

Answer - none

Is Gunns Ltd Reliable?

Is Gunns Ltd Reliable? has been updated (as of 8 October 2010) with a new category 'Economic Management' and 230 statements from ex CEO John Gay, present CEO G. L'Estrange, Gunns Ltd, and State and Federal governments relating to the planned pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. 

Pulp and paper expert Dr Warwick Raverty, reached the “sad conclusion that Gunns is not a fit and proper company to build a pulp mill anywhere” in Tasmania (14 March 2007). That conclusion is supported by the record of statements in Is Gunns Ltd Reliable?

Its purpose is to help potential investors assess Gunns' competence to build and operate one of the largest pulp mills in the southern hemisphere. It illustrates the political, economic and project risks for investors in Gunns' proposal.

The statements have been collated by TAP Research from media reports, documentaries and publications from 2004 to the present and are hyperlink referenced for easy checking. It will be updated periodically as new evidence emerges.

Gunns Pulp Mill Start Date Announcements. How many different start dates can you find?

A company report listed on a Federal Government Web site this week revealed that construction was scheduled to start in February 2006 with a mill commissioned by mid- 2008. 17 December 2004 www.nafi.com.au

Gay expects approval in August and a likely start in September. It will take around two years to build. 19 May 2007 The Australian

The Incident at the Parliament, convened in Launceston's Albert Hall.

This is why we say the government is undemocratic.  Inside it was mayhem.  I doubt the speaker even knew what he was going to do next, and whether it would work.  When they got the last of the public through the doors, they began closing them...

A Heartfelt Thanks from Steve Biddulph

I was so proud of us today  (Saturday 23 August 2008).

The rally was a wonderful demonstration of many things... 


First, the staying power and strength of the movement against the pulp mill.

New online petition to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd initiated by the Wilderness Society.

Please send your message to Mr Rudd to say no to the pulp mill and that you want to protect forests for our climate and future generations - not pulp them for short-term profit. Go to online petition

Together we've helped convince the ANZ bank to do the right thing and say NO to Gunns'pulp mill and now none of Australia's big four banks will touch it. And thanks to supporters like you we have been able to highlight the devastating impacts of the mill to such an extent that even the new Tasmanian Premier is listening.

Yet Prime Minister Rudd continues to voice his support for this shameful pulp mill. Right now I need your help to wake him up to the real cost of the pulp mill, the real cost of logging, and the real cost to our climate, communities and future generations.

Conservative estimates show that the pulp mill will increase the amount of emissions pouring into our atmosphere at a rate equivalent to an extra 2.3 million cars on our roads every year.

In addition to this, recent media has highlighted the new ANU findings that south-eastern Australian forests are some of the most carbon-dense in the world, and have the potential to sequester 25% of our annual emissions for the next 100 years. Logging the carbon-rich forests of Tasmania depletes the stored carbon bank, emitting massive amounts of greenhouse gas pollution.

It is outrageous, given the urgent threat of climate change, that the Rudd Government is even considering this carbon-polluting pulp mill. In fact, the climate change implications of the logging have totally escaped any assessment in Government approvals.

Gunns still has a number of condition modules that need to be submitted to the government for approval. One of those modules includes the impact of 64,000 tonnes of effluent containing some of the deadliest substances known to man that is to be flushed into the Bass Strait - every day! And while the approval deadline looms, unbelievably our government has indicated that they would be willing to consider an extension.

Enough is enough! Too many politicians have been dancing round this pulp mill already. Enough exceptions, excuses and fast-tracking of processes have already been made.

With your help, we can convince the government that no further special allowances should be made.

Thank you for the difference you are making.

Paul Oosting

Pulp Mill Campaigner, Wilderness Society

Adverse impacts to air, soil and water, crops, animals and people by contamination with toxic chemicals

Recent research shows that the half-lives of many pesticides in Tasmania is more than double those listed on the material safety data sheets, due to the local cooler climate and soil characteristics. Letter from Dr Alsion Bleaney OBE and Philip J Tattersall .