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Gunns, ALP, pulp mill « Previous | |Next »
March 21, 2007

Tasmania is again debating and fighting over its forests. The timber industry continues to be the problem. Tasmania's future is what is up for grabs and it has reverted to its 'crash through type' to overcome the environment economic divide.

Ray Norman, Tasmanian postcard

At the moment it does look as if there has been a sweetheart deal between Gunns and the government to fast-track approval of the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar valley at all costs. Gunns Ltd have withdrawn from the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC), the body in charge of assessing their pulp mill proposal in northern Tasmania. They have withdrawn the proposal from the RPDC and referred it to the State government to fast-track the approval of the mill by passing legislation to have it assessed. Premier Lennon has recalled parliament to put legislation into Parliament yesterday to approve the mill.

That means the final say on the mill lies with the Tasmanian Parliament. Will the parliamentarians, especially MLCs, who support the mill, but only if assessed by the independent RPDC, stand firm when called on to vote in parliament?

I understand that Federal Government will make its own assessment of the proposed the pulp mill under the terms of the bilateral agreement to meet the requirements of the EPBC. If it doesn't meet these requirements, then it won't be approved. Will that be the case though?

The new assessment process of the chlorine dioxide pulp mill put forward by the Tasmanian Government will include a social and economic benefit study that will not take account of any negative impacts on the wine or tourism industries in the region. Tamar already has problem with air quality, exacerbated by the region's topography. There will be thousands of tonnes of particulars put into the air shed in a place where eight people die every year directly related to air pollution related diseases. I understand that because of the long flushing times in Bass Strait where the effluent outfall of the mill is to be, the contaminated water, including organo-chlorines, will remain around for a long time.

There need not be this environment v economic standoff. How about an environmentally responsible mill through a properly managed process?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:03 AM | | Comments (9)


It's nothing short of disgusting.

John Gay rattles the cage, and all his monkeys jump about.

Tasmania was promised the world's best practice pulp mill, instead we will get another filthy polluter.

Just what a state that promotes itself as a tourist mecca needs.

And Gunn's share price will continue to rise, heavily subsidised by all Tasmanian's through bad timber pricing.

I heard Christopher Wright, the RPDC head and one of Tasmania's most respected jurists, on Radio natrional breakfast this morning.

He said that the Premier had said he wanted the commission to finish its assessment by a specific date, and to not hold any public hearings. Mr Wright went on to say that he was told that if he did not comply, the Government would remove the RPDC from the process and legislate.

It does look as if this a clear and inappropriate attempt to pressure the RPDC. In response, Mr Wright said he tendered his resignation three days later but this was withdrawn after he was told the Premier did not intend to go ahead with his threat. But the state Government did intervene after Gunns threatened to withdraw from the project.

Seems to be a problem right 'round the country.
Here in Adelaide the state government is riding roughshod over environmental and heritage impact to get its way on projects also.
As for Lennon, an individual I hold in the same esteem as Abbott and Santoro; when the light was shone on him on telly last night, he blustered and squirmed almost into a state of tantrum.
What hope of getting Howard out federally when state Labor governments continue to do so much harm.

I think a person needs to live in Tassy for a while to understand it. Its not really Australia (sort of) Its a funny place and the people are too. They seem to be jobs driven because I guess if its bad in Tassy its real bad.
I lived in Port Huon for a while and it seemed to be almost partitioned with normal country folk on one side and Hippy Greenies on the other and the latter seem to come from other places so that goes against them.
Dunno its a hard one. Though I do think Bob Brown would of made a great Premier.

Ray Norman, the producer of the postcard lives in Launceston,Tasmania, and has done so for some time.

Re: Les

"Its not really Australia (sort of) Its a funny place and the people are too. " - Les

What are you talking about, Tasmania not being apart of Australia, thats crap and you know it, and the people are fine thank you, and about the Pulp mill it should go ahead as it will contribute 6.7billion dollars to the Tasmanian economy by 2030, what more could we want, more money, harldy any enviromental damage, get it going Paul Lennon

you claim that the pulp mill will cause hardly any environmental damage and that the benefits to the Tasmanian economy re great.

That is not what the experts say. They are concerned. Where is your argument or evidence for the claim so we can look it over and assess it.

You owe us this because the AMA has said that the mill is a bad law because it threatened public health.

Your statement is not convincing because it lacks evidence.

it sounds like the post by micheal was written by a politician. what did he say? 6.7billion by 2030.i live in hobart and the folk here weather for or against certainly don't speak in terms like that.OH and for Les...
Tas is the toughest place in AUSTRALIA to live without work.Iam unemployed yet even if it mean't a well paid job for life,i would still say NO to Gay and his red monkey. PS truly despicable are the shareholders of gunns (greed inc)who are they and WHERE do they live ?

I thought that Henry Melville in the Tasmanian Times put one aspect of the issue well in this article

During the Pulp Mill Debate in the Legislative Council last Wednesday, a nervous Greg Hall, MLC for Rowallan summed up their ultimatum or dilemma thus: “If we [Legislative Council] say no to this [new] assessment process, we [Tasmania] say no to the pulp mill. That is the reality. Unpalatable as it may seem to some, we have to decide that now either we approve the process or reject the pulp mill.”

And that‘s the political corner that Premier, Paul Lennon and Gunns Executive chairman, John Gay have pushed our elected mob of sheep into.
I see that Federal Labor environment spokesman Peter Garrett said he was unhappy with the behaviour of his Tasmanian counterparts regarding the mill proposed by Gunns Ltd. On Nine Network Garrett spoke out against the Lennon Government for allowing a Bill to fast-track assessment of the pulp mill to pass through Tasmania's Upper House.