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Gunns pulp mill « Previous | |Next »
October 5, 2007

As we'd all expected the Gunns' pulp mill in the Tamar Valley has been given the okay by Minister Turnbull with extra conditions attached. And the ALP has no objections---once again what we'd expected. The Coalition is delivering jobs ----good economic management----and who is Labor to disagree. They just mirrored Coalition policy.


The only legitimate talk is about jobs and economic growth in Tasmania's northeast. And the impact on the impact on Tasmanian old growth native forests? Not to be mentioned. All that would be mentioned by the ALP was the flaws in the process.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:42 AM | | Comments (9)


John Lyons in The Australian said that Australia's Chief Scientist Jim Peacock brief was under commonwealth law, and so he could only examine matters relating only to commonwealth responsibilities:

These were primarily the effect of the millions of tonnes of effluent that will be pumped each day into Bass Strait and the effect of the mill on rare and migratory species.

Lyons says that the:
legislation is hopelessly outdated in that it did not allow Peacock to examine the extent of greenhouse gases emitted. Turnbull mocked suggestions that additional greenhouse gases from the mill could contribute as much as 2 per cent to Australia's emissions, but then made the remarkable admission that he did not know what the contribution would be. And Peacock did not answer a question about how concerned he was about the environmental impact of the areas that did not fall within his review. Apart from not examining air quality, the Peacock review did not look at the effect on forests and local businesses, or at odour emissions.

The mill feed is plantation timber ( the long fibres) and trees that have regrown in the last 50 years ( the short fibres). What has the mill got to do with old growth forests?

We are facing very serious environmental issues, the Greens need to engage the wider community, they are not going to do that using miss information in a debate over what in reality is a peripheral issue.

I'm puzzled. There are three main environmental effects associated with the Tasmanian mill: forestry, air pollution and water pollution. All are significant

But how is Peacock, the Australia's Chief Scientist, part of the Greens? Or the limitations of the EPBC Act, for that matter?

I'm unsure how the use of chlorine dioxide in Gunns paper-making process to make paper white, and the highly toxic dioxins that will be generated and discharged in effluent, constitute world's best practice? Some pulp mills in countries, such as Sweden, use a chlorine-free process. Gunns originally intimated they would be going chlorine-free, then they backed away. How is that word's best practice?

Chief Commonwealth Scientist Dr Jim Peacock at today's Press conference with Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the results of his expert panel's assessment of the pulp mill said:

"During our work, we were impressed by the technological and engineering advancements that have been made in the last 10-12 years in the design and operating conditions of an elemental chlorine-free pulp mill. There are many that are being built around the world, and it is absolutely striking the improvements that have been made, particularly in relation to the reduction in effective toxin [inaudible]. So, these improvements argued to us that the mill proposed in Tasmania was likely to conform to world’s best specification, and it argued to us that equally high standards should be expected of the interaction between mill operations and the environment. If the environment.., Environmental Impact Management Plan conditions are met in their entirety, we feel there’s a very strong possibility that the mill will operate with an environmentally neutral footprint.

The Gunn's pulp mill as an environmentally neutral footprint? Someone's dreaming.

you would have to agree that Turnbull had a win of sorts on the pulp mill, as it is only going ahead subject to a strict set of conditions.He's effectively given the project the green light (so Gunns, Barry Chipman and the forest industry are happy) but he's also imposed extra conditions he has also sent the message that he's listened to the concerns of environmentalists and other opponents.

So who will ensure that Gunns do the right thing in terms of "world's best practice" ?

Will, the decision cost Turnbull his seat? That's a big question.

the Liberals are talking in terms of a pulp mill led resurgence----the polls are narrowing everywhere in their favour except in Lyons. Any negative votes at all in Tasmania are due soley to the ex-Liberal candidate--Ben Quin---as he was anti-mill. He's now gone. The new team is in place and its onward and upward.

The reality from the Tasmanian polling is that the polling in the days after Mr Quin's public criticism of the mill found the Liberals' primary vote had crashed from 42 per cent at the 2004 election to just 30 per cent, with its two-party-preferred vote slumping from 46 per cent to 35 per cent.

How you get onward and upward from the boost due to the approval of a pulp mill is beyond me. It looks like more spin from the Australian on a drip feed from the Liberal Party with Quinn being used as a scapegoat .

First-term Bass Liberal MP Michael Ferguson, last week expressed fears he could lose the marginal seat over the issue. Polls show he is likely to lose the seat, held by just 2.7 per cent, to Labor's Jodie Campbell.

how likely is it that the Coalition will lose control of the Senate? I'm thinking in terms of this scenario: the ALP winning in the House of Representatives but facing a Coalition majority in the Senate, even though the Greens side with the ALP.

the Coalition only has to lose on Senate seat for the numbers to be tied. Tied Senate votes are resolved in the negative.

If the Coalition lost two Senate seats it woudl need the support of Family First to block legislation introduced by a Labor Government.

Only if the Coalition lost 3 Senate seats woudl a aminor lef -wing party( ie., the Greens) hold the balance of power and be able to ensure that the passage of Labor legislation.

Is not likely that the Coalition that Coalition will lose 3 Senate seats. Labor is looking to do deals with Family First, as its policies bear a strong resemblance to the old DLP. Many social conservatives in the ALP have more sympathy with Family First than they do with the small-l liberalism and social radicalism of the Greens.

DLP values reside deeply in the modern ALP ---its part of the latter's DNA as it were.