Sunday, October 31, 2010

Local residents prepared to be jailed to stop Tamar Valley pulp mill. Protesters say "Potential pulp mill investors and politicians can expect further civil disobedience unless the proposed pulp mill’s approval is repealed, and all plans to build this mill in the Tamar Valley are withdrawn"


............“We were immediately struck by the massive scale of the clearing; the close proximity to homes on the western bank of the river, and the fact that the strong north-easterly winds currently blowing would take the toxic stench of the mill straight into Launceston" (Lucy Landon-Lane) 
"Forty five members of the anti-pulp mill group Pulp the Mill gathered today at the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill site to send a strong message to Gunns that the Tamar Valley pulp mill does not have a social licence.
Lucy Landon-Lane, spokeswoman for Pulp the Mill said, “While we acknowledge the Forest Principles handed to State and Federal Governments recently are a step forward for Tasmanias forests, in no way does it give a social licence to this Tamar Valley pulp mill.” 

Protesters notified the police of their intention to enter the site. On learning that the police had been instructed by Gunns to not attend the action, the protesters then took the opportunity to go and inspect the whole site. “We were immediately struck by the massive scale of the clearing; the close proximity to homes on the western bank of the river, and the fact that the strong north-easterly winds currently blowing would take the toxic stench of the mill straight into Launceston.

Since there appears to be no repercussions from entering the area (despite numerous signs saying trespassers prosecuted), we expect that more members of the community might like to enter and see for themselves.

”She concluded, “It appears that Gunns is choosing to distort the Forest Principles to imply that there is social acceptance for their pulp mill. The community will never support this mill.”

See pics Here



....Anti pulp mill protesters have gathered at the site of timber company Gunns' proposed Tamar Valley mill in northern Tasmania. The group accuses Gunns of using a recent agreement between conservationists and the forest industry to push its case for a mill at the Bell Bay site. Group spokeswoman Lucy Landon-Lane says about 40 people attended the protest. "We are here to make a very clear statement to potential investors that there will never be community support for this particular Tamar Valley pulp mill," she said.


Pulp The Mill Media Release
"Pulp the Mill will be staging another Peaceful Community Protest tomorrow at 12 noon (October 31).
There will be about 30 people assembling on the pulp mill site for a silent, peaceful protest just within the site grounds, off the East Tamar highway.
Lucy Landon-Lane, spokesperson for Pulp the Mill said.... “It is imperative that Gunns’ board, shareholders and potential investors accept the reality that this mill will never have a social license. Gunns seem to believe that the Forest Principles presented to State and Federal Government recently give this Tamar Valley pulp mill a social license.
It will never have community support because of the corrupt and inadequate assessment process; the toxic effluent to be pumped into Bass Strait; the massive amounts of water it will consume; the danger from the increase in log trucks and trucks carrying chemicals to the pulp mill; and the stench that will fill the valley. These courageous people are here to stand up for all the wonderful sustainable industries that already exist in this beautiful valley, that will be adversely affected by this mill if it goes ahead. With Gunns’ history of suing people who speak out against them, these are very courageous people indeed.”

Retired doctor and protester, John Ball said, “No community consultation or assessment of the health risks of the proposed mill has ever been undertaken. As a family doctor with many years experience treating asthma and bronchitis, I am very alarmed at the dangers to our health this mill would cause. We already have poor air quality in the valley because of the inversion layer. Some 300 kgs of tiny dangerous particles will be emitted day and night all year round from the stack, into our air and into our lungs, increasing lung and heart disease. Added to that is the pollution from burning 500,000 tonnes of green timber residue and 1,000,000 tonnes of dried black liquor residue a year in the power station.
“Also it has been clearly shown in studies that our health will also be affected by the truly foul smell which all mills of this type emit from time to time.” he said.

Lucy Landon-Lane concluded, “Potential pulp mill investors and politicians can expect further civil disobedience unless the proposed pulp mill’s approval is repealed, and all plans to build this mill in the Tamar Valley are withdrawn. It is unjust and excessive to keep the residents of the valley in this awful state of limbo. The pulp mill has to go, so we can get on with our lives without the incredible stress that the threat of this mill has put on all of us.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The 2010 Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. by Pilko

Congratulations to all parties involved in the Tasmanian Forests Statement of Principles.

The so called "Forests Peace Plan" will soon see a halt to all logging in Tasmania’s high conservation forests such as the Weld, Florentine, Styx and Tarkine, as well as agreements to protect previously unprotected areas including the Tarkine Rainforest, Great Western Tiers, Blue Tier and the Upper Florentine Valley. The deal is set to protect up to 600,000 hectares of mainly wilderness forests on public land and a moratorium on logging in 29 coupes covering about 1200ha of high-conservation value forests nominated as top priority by environmental groups is already in place.

Make no mistake this is a huge win for Tasmania's magnificent wilderness areas which deserve to be preserved for future generations of not just Tasmanians but visitors to our beautiful island.

Whilst Mr Pullinger, Mr Oosting and others have been busy securing the protection of the forests Australians love and want preserved for future generations, they have endured nasty personal slurs and a barrage of abuse from elements of Tasmania's environment movement.

However the recorded history of this momentous deal - a deal that will be pleasing to the majority of Tasmanians, will not remember the sulking and vitriole of a handful of noisy internet based NIMBYS but rather remember the young men and parties representing the forest industry who stepped up to the plate to save our magnificent forests and move the management of Tasmania's forests into the 21st century,

This is no small achievement as many who have gone before them have tried and failed.

The majority of Tasmanians who are sick of seeing the abuse and exploitation of Tasmania's forest's and the conflict that has accompanied this will approve of this deal.

Indeed A cross section of environment groups  including the Tarkine National Coalition, Friends of the Blue Tier, Birds Tasmania, Florentine Protection Society, Huon Valley Environment Centre, Peninsula Environment Network, Save our Sister, Still Wild Still Threatened, Future Tasmania, West Wellington Protection Group, Public Environmental Health Network welcomed the forests peace deal between ENGOs and the timber industry saying  it promised to deliver real conservation outcomes in the region.
The Tasmanian Country Sawmillers Federation also welcomed the statement of principles.

In environmental campaigns as in life we sometimes seem to continually find ourselves on the losing side.
As in life, there are some who react well and there are some who react badly.

Those who have reacted badly emanate from the fringes of the Tasmanian environmental left where a driving passion for our wilderness has long ago been overtaken by paralysing negativity and cycnicism. Where environmental activism has been replaced by nasty ideological crusading.
There are serious questions over the credibility of these people whose ranks include some elected public officials, campaign leaders and faceless apparatchiks whowhilst professing a love of the Tasmanian landscape refuse to at least acknowledge the massive potential wins for many key Tasmanian wilderness areas.

Public scrutiny of the forests deal is crucial and I recognise that there are plenty of outstanding issues not resolved by the deal, many of which have been outlined by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust.

This includes the 'Elephant in the Room" - the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.

However it is an appalling look for those who are focussing all their public statements on the deal’s shortcomings without acknowledging the massive wins for our wilderness. They do themselves and their cause no good in the eyes of mainstream Tasmanians. Tragically the loudest and most self righteous critics of the statement of principles have become so distracted and paralysed by bitterness that they are far less active in their own campaigns and seemingly satisfied confining their activities to internet clubrooms.

ENGO's are even being blamed for the fact that the Tasmanian Government is seeking around $1Billion to restructure the industry. It has been suggested that the way forward to the new age where we have our forests back and control over land use would have been for the ENGO's to stay away and let the industry collapse instead of 'saving it and gaining it a tax payer bailout.
This argument is simply ludicrous and only serves to demonstrate how desperate some are to justify their futile war against the peak environmental groups.
ENGO's neither have the power to save or destroy to the Tasmanian logging industry, nor do they have the authority or clout to release $1B from Federal coffers.
The federal and state governments would never allow the Tasmanian logging industry to collapse, nor  in the current climate, would government fail to deliver large sums of bailout money.
Bailout money and an industry restructure would most certainly be forthcoming despite ENGO involvement. Indeed without the efforts of the ENGO's the outcome may have been much more one sided with government merely propping the industry up with more bailout money, no environmental gains or genuine industry reforms

In terms of the proposed Gunns pulp mill, the project remains the elephant in the room.
The Tamar valley Pulp mill has been the biggest environmental conflict in this state since the Franklin Dam, so to not talk about the proposed mill in relation to this historic deal, does seem ludicrous.

The recent statements by Greg L'Estrange that the deal is good for Gunns’ pulp mill are a real poke in the eye for the ENGO's and not what they would want to hear. This will be taken as sign by many that the young ENGOs have been taken for a ride by Gunns and there is a real case to argue that this deal has in some ways eased the way for the mill especially in terms of Gunns bottom line For me the jury is still out on that one, but I can certainly sympathise with those who argue the case.
This will be an ongoing problem for the ENGO’s involved in broking the forests deal and for Nick Mckim who as the leader of the Tasmanian Greens has also gone through an unprecedented period of public silence on the mill issue. There is a lot of chatter about Mckim's silence and the dramatic transformation he has bought to the role of leader of the Tasmanian Greens. It has been argued that bringing Mckim and O'Connor into cabinet was a stroke of genius by Bartlett in terms of eliminating a previously potent political foe. Its difficult to argue against the notion that with the silencing of the leader of the Tasmanian Greens, general opposition from the Greens party has also been softened.

It is also impossible to ignore the fact that TWS has dramatically toned down their language around the pulp mill with TWS continuing to campaign behind the scenes but softening their public campaign against the project.
Indeed ENGOs seem to have compartmentalised the mill project whilst industry and government have continued to openly flout their enthusiasm for the project and support logging industry interests that want the project built. Indeed the ENGOs current diplomatic strategy of comparative silence will not be sustainable in the long term. There is an enormous amount of negative emotion in the Tamar Valley about the prospect of the mill being built and real concern about the noticeable change in posture from these traditionally, and up until recently, very close and active campaign allies of Tamar Mill opponents.

ENGOs and in particular Tasmanian Greens leader Nick Mckim will need to reconnect very quickly with their members and supporters in the North as Gunns continue to sell off its businesses and shed its workforce in its fight to keep the pulp mill dream alive and in particular as industry and government increasingly turn its focus on the proposed mill which Gunns has clearly staked the company, and for all intents and purposes the industry, on.
Only recently the elephant in the room was being described as arguably the biggest environmental conflict in the state’s history. It’s still there and it still needs to be dealt with.
TWS, ET and the Tas Greens would do well at this stage to pause and survey their members on how they want them to conduct themselves in the ongoing campaign against the Tamar Valley mill.


Monday, October 25, 2010

TPOS Media Watch Feature. "Tamar mill backing: I made no such comment" - Geoffrey Cousins. The Tasmanian Times hits the wrong target.........again. Slapped on the wrists by Geoff to Monday's ABC Media Watch expose on Alan Jones dummy spit

TPOS Media Watch Feature

From the Tasmanian Times Website-

"Tamar mill backing: I made no such comment" - Geoffrey Cousins, 25.10.10 4:00 am..........
......"It has been drawn to my attention that you published an article by Peter Henning that stated I had suggested that I would support a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley as part of some arrangement on forest practices. I have made no such comment, either publicly or in private discussion.
Peter Henning may be confused by a comment I made on Lateline where I said a properly configured mill would be fine in Tasmania.  That statement was in line with everything I have said on this issue previously. It made no reference to the Tamar Valley. (Geoff Cousins)

Oh dear!
Yes I know it would be ironic but be warned, you may be out of luck if you think you can get a comment supportive of Cousins past the TT censors on this issue. Let this blog know if you submit a comment and it doesnt get published. 

Indeed, even TT's presentation of the Cousins rebuke is designed to minimise any potential embarrassment to the offending author with the abstract featured on the cover page of the Cousins piece taken from the most benign part of the Cousins comment.  

Now check out the offending article...........but oh where is it????.....It was there earlier.........I found it.............and then 5 minutes later when i went back, the site was down with this message  ......."Tasmanian Times is currently receiving a tune-up behind the scenes. As always redirect any comments/news/articles to We'll be back within the hour! We apologize for any inconvenience".

A little tune up that involved adding Cousins statement to the bottom of the offending article....
Now its back again...Here.
Check out the comments below the offending article and note how willing correspondents are to believe what they have just read and to leap on the Anti-Cousins bandwagon.

This article is also full of inference about Cousins.
I wouldnt be surprised if there are some more tune-ups to come over at TT! I did try an' tell em' Geoffrey, but they wouldnt listen

.........and..........ABC Media Watch Alan Jones expose

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cutting a Deal. Will the historic pact save Tasmania's forests? from The Ethical Investor Magazine.

......“Gunns is still destroying high-conservation value forest as we speak, and they’re still committed to the Bell Bay pulp mill, that hasn’t changed,” .....“We’re in this moment of flux.”.
As a keen observer who has written extensively on the issue, Flanagan (Richard) blames the last 30 years of conflict on a scam – one that unhinged millions of dollars in state and federal government subsidies to make a handful of people rich at the expense of the public.
“It wasn’t really an industry – it was a racket. It if had ever been allowed to stand on its own two feet without massive taxpayer subsidy it would have collapsed straight away,” he said............

Read more in The Ethical Investor -An end to the plunder? Environmentalists and the industry agree on historic moratorium

Monday, October 18, 2010

Industry will set sights on Tamar Valley pulp mill as Gunns cuts another Tasmanian business, more local jobs go.......and in breaking news.... OZ reporting the further closure, sale or merger of sawmills at Smithton, Deloraine, Western Junction and Southwood in the Huon. More jobs look set to go

With the latest news of another local Gunns business going under along with 100 plus jobs, alarm bells will be ringing loudly for people who live in Launceston and the Tamar Valley.

As Gunns continue to sell off its businesses and shed its workforce in a fight to keep alive its $2.5 billion pulp mill, the focus will increasingly turn to Gunns proposed longreach mill in the Tamar Valley in which Gunns appears to have staked all its hopes and for all intents and purposes, the company".

However, the very real and genuine fear for Tamar Valley residents and business folk is that whilst Gunns Pulp Mill will benefit its distant shareholders, the quiet, clever and diverse community who have managed to live harmoniously for generations with the local environment will be left to pick up the pieces as the Gunns Pulp Mill business fails. As we have seen so often in Tasmania when logging industry business interests fail the taxpayer is forced to cough up tens of millions in subsidies and bail out money.

Many in the Tamar Valley fear that if the mill gets up, then five, ten, perhaps15 years down the track the story of Scottsdale, Austins Ferry, Manjimup (WA) and Tasmania's forest contractors all whom have felt the wrong end of Gunns "company restructure" will be repeated in the Tamar Valley as the pulp mill hits hard times, hits the wall or Gunns simply moves on.
There are indeed many precedents of this happening to pulp mills in other countries.

It will be of little consolation if the pulp mill does go belly up and the Tamar Valley is left with a $2.5 billion hi-tech squat for the homeless. At that stage there will be little recourse for compensation. Gunns, unlike existing locally owned businesses, will not be directly accountable to locals, rather protected from their appeals and protests by law.

If local boy - 2003 Tasmanian young achiever award winner, Daniel Alps can no longer serve the freshest, cleanest seafood and organic vegies because he can no longer afford to buy, or indeed to source it locally then the young people he employs from local towns like Exeter and Legana will be laid off.

If this occurs, will the Bartlett Government be forthcoming with a bailout package?

Likewise, local family business Miller’s Orchard was established in the 1930s and employ up to 60 full-time workers with a large percentage of their produce destined for the export market including France, Holland, Taiwan and Italy. Millers’ produce is more expensive than many of its competitors but it maintains its market because of the quality of the produce and the perception that it comes from a clean and pristine environment. Millers may well lose their export markets as their buyers worry about the damaged Tasmanian Brand and the impacts of pollution on the produce.

The continuing effect of the Gunns Pulp Mill on public life in Tasmania will be one of division. Terrible division. Supporting the project stopped being clever long ago. Most Tasmanians have already worked this out.
The kindest thing to do for the Island of Tasmania would be for the Bartlett Government to disconnect itself form the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill and reconnect to its line in the sand.
Until the Bartlett Government does so, the Gunns Pulp Mill will continue to be a millstone around their necks, as it locks Tasmania into a future so irreconcilably at odds with Premier Bartlett’s vision for the state, as outlined in his speech to the National Press Club last year.
...“Tasmania’s future does not lie in the massive bulk exports of raw materials, it lies in low volume high quality, high value exports. To do that we need to re-think our logistics, transport systems that are low emissions intelligent systems…It’s about our skills sector, science, and innovative agribusiness. It’s about transforming our logistics into smart, low emission transport systems, and drawing more people to visit our State through our growing food and wine tourism sector. That is a clever Tasmania in action” (Premier David Bartlett)


and.........from the OZ.... "However, The Australian has learned this is just the start of a far wider Gunns restructure that will result in the closure, sale or merger of four native timber sawmills -- at Smithton, Deloraine, Western Junction and Southwood in the Huon -- that employ hundreds" more in The Australian

Gunns closes Scottsdale sawmill. Another 120 jobs gone.........and.....Gunns or Gunna's?

.........."Tasmania's north east is again bracing for jobs losses in the timber industry with Gunns planning to shut its Scottsdale sawmill. Gunns has announced it will close its Ling Siding softwood mill at Scottsdale in four months, cutting 120 jobs". ............Read more on ABC online

Gunns or Gunna's - more dates than casanova

Tamar Valley residents say "Gunns CEO's comments pulp mill 'damage control'

Read more on ABC news online 

The Canonisation of Mary Mackillop. I'm over it already

Is it just me or does anyone else find the making Mary Mackillop a saint thing a bit silly and irritating?
It seems to me that catholic Australia's sainthood circus is an invitation for millions of people to fly into irrationality and emotionalism. This has nothing to do with spirituality.
If i see or hear right wing elites like Tim Fischer or Alan Jones again pontificationg about Mary and about how 'Australia has now got its own Saint' i think i will barf'.
The reaction to Mary being made a saint seems no different than Australia making the soccer world cup,  hosting the Olympics or winning the America's cup. The reaction of Catholic Australians seemed to have more to do with nationalism and celebrity than spirituality. Indeed the SMH reported that during the weekend's canonisation ceremony......"In between angelic singing and the ringing of church bells, there was another sound echoing around St Peter's Square on Sunday: Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi."....Australian and Aboriginal flags were dotted throughout the crowd, some pilgrims adorned themselves in fake tattoos representing the Aussie flag, and the Sisters of St Joseph in their bright blue scarves waved Mary MacKillop balloons. Sister Jeanette from Sydney and Sister Mary from Adelaide said they were thrilled to hear the cries of Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi and also Mary Mary Mary, Oi Oi Oi. "Isn't that fun? Join in!," Sister Jeanette said.Oh those whacky Catholic kids!

Why take a great and practical legacy like Mackillops life and politicise it, twist it into some sort of mystical, mythical 'other' and imbue Mary Mackillop with celebrity cult status?
I prefer to say that Mackillop was a good person who led a good life without buying into the miracle smiracle mumbo jumbo.
I may have to turn the radio and TV off over the next few days.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Get Up calls for Gunns Pulp Mill to go before Integrity Commission - Have your say.


Friends of the Tamar Valley tell Gunns its pulp mill is no friend of Tasmanians

‘Friends of the Tamar Valley’ - MEDIA RELEASE: 17/10/2010
Tamar Community group ‘Friends of the Tamar Valley’ today called on the State and Federal governments to withdraw permits for the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill.

This follows comments made by Gunns Ltd CEO Greg L’Estrange this weekend that improvements could be made for better effluent treatment and extra measures to reduce air pollution and odour.
“Over the past six years Tasmanians have received mixed messages from Gunns and its political supporters about whether the pulp mill will pollute. One day it will, the next it might, and the next it won’t – all depending on fits with the agenda of the day” said FTV spokesperson Anna Pilkington.

Greg L’Estrange has effectively admitted that the mill will pollute and that it will smell.

The Tasmanian Government’s own air quality strategy primarily exists because Launceston and the Tamar Valley have some of the worst air pollution in Australia during winter. Former RPDC pulp mill assessment panel expert Dr Warwick Raverty said that because of this the Tamar Valley is the worst possible place for a world scale Kraft pulp and chemical factory. We also know from Dr Raverty and others that there exists no Kraft pulp mill in the world that doesn’t smell.

Ms Pilkington continued, “For six years Gunns have assiduously avoided sitting down with and listening to pulp mill opponents who live in the Tamar Valley and nothing has changed in that respect despite the way Gunns are attempting to present themselves in the media through their latest PR campaign. Gunns and the Tasmanian government continue to grossly understate the ill-feeling in the Tasmanian community towards this project. and for Gunns to expect opponents to suddenly accept the pulp mill is tantamount to a bully expecting his victims to forgive, forget and live happily ever after together”.

The fact is that Gunns are now in damage control and desperate for a community pardon before its upcoming AGM.
“This simply will not happen. Gunns may save the company and it may well reform itself into a more socially responsible and ethical timber company, however it must accept that the pulp mill project is irretrievably damaged in the eyes of Tasmanians” Ms Pilkington concluded

CONTACT: Anna Pilkington. Mobile: 0439 899 760

Triathlon Australia snub Aussie triathlon Hawaii Ironman world champions

Last Sunday morning (October 10 aest) in a first for Australian Triathlon, Chris 'macca' McCormack (NSW) and Mirinda Carfrae (QLD) won the men’s and women’s titles as the world's most prestigious and iconic triathlon - The Hawaii Ironman World Championship which is run by the World Triathlon Corporation
Arguably the most significant result in Australian triathlon in years. Many triathletes would argue the most significant result in the history of Australian Triathlon.
To put McCormack and Carfrae's achievement in context, until 2006 only once had an Australian won the Hawaii Ironman since its inception in 1978. Greg Welch in 1994.
Australians have however, had an incredible run since Michellie Jones broke the Aussie drought in 2006.
Between Craig Alexander (2008, 9) and Chris McCormack (2007, 10) Australian men have won the men's title for the last 4 years.
This incredible streak is unlikely to last with McCormack and Alexander both aged 37.

Triathlon Australia is the governing body of triathlon in Australia and an affiliate of the International Triathlon Union (ITU). Triathlon Australia attempted to remedy its blatant snub of McCormack and Carfrae's achievement after 4 days of external complaints by putting out a small posting (below) on its site which was rightly criticised by one local triathlete as "churlish, self-praising, not athlete focussed at all, unless they could connect them back to TA officialdom".

Ironman World Championships 
Date:: 13-Oct-10
Source:: Triathlon Australia
"Triathlon Australia congratulates all of the Australian triathletes who competed and finished the 2010 Hawaiian Ironman on Sunday 9 October 2010. In particular we congratulate the outstanding performances of our Professional and Age Group athletes who finished with podium positions.
Chris McCormack from the Cronulla Triathlon Club in Sydney won the Men's Pro event, Mirinda Carfrae from Brisbane, Queensland won the Women's Pro event. Caitlin Bridgland from the Fremantle Triathlon Club in Western Australia received a silver medal in her age group category of 18-24 years. We also acknowledge the achievements of our staff and officials. Mary Mitchell, the new President of Triathlon South Australia, finished the race in the 50-54 age group category and Robyn Stanley, the Executive Officer of Triathlon Northern Territory, completed the race in the 55-59 age group category"
A contributor to a leading triathlon chat forum said of Triathlon Australia's snub...... "I assume they had the AGM on the same day so that they could gather and watch the race together. I would therefore assume that the first thought that would come to mind after the finish would be "Hey, get on the homepage and put a notice up, and send out a bulk email. This event is recognised within the triathlon community as the true world championship of ultra distance/long distance triathlon. TA have to put ITU/WTC conflict aside and do what is best for the sport. Ironman is probably the biggest "attractant" to athletes coming in to the sport. We've had 3 Olympics now and that hasn't seen growth so they can't argue ITU is attracting new blood. It is an unsatisfactory situation. Some may say pathetic"

Triathlon Australia's snub is not a reflection of its members and constituents.

Australian triathletes from age groupers to pro's know their sport and its history and if not watching the live webcast of Sunday's Hawaiian Ironman, local aussie triathletes would have been well aware the race was on and taking a keen interest on the fortunes of aussie athletes through local news networks.
I know that last weekend many local triathletes around the country, keen to see their heroes recognised bombarded local media around the country with news of Carfrae and McCormack's success. Yet enthusiasm for this historic day in Australian triathlon was clearly not shared by Triathlon Australia with no news posted on the TA website, no emails to members and no media release. Nothing.

Only a week before the UCI cycling world championships were run and won in Geelong. Cycling Australia members received email updates every day as did members of other state cycling bodies.

Another contributor to the popular Transitions Triathlon Forum offered this observation ........."I have tried my best to stay positive re TA recognising that despite World champs uniform issues etc there are definitely some good things that TA does. But I am now officially confused. Here is a GOOD news story. A REALLY GOOD news story. Why wouldn't you get this up on your website (and everywhere else for that matter!) as soon as possible and as often as possible after the event? You want people to do triathlons right? You want some free media exposure right? You've just had two Aussies win Kona right? You want the head of TA sitting with Macca on Sunrise telling people all over Australia why it is such a good thing to get into right?

On Triathlon Australia's website TA claim "Further, Triathlon Australia also continues to support Iron Man racing in Australia through its support of the National Ultra Distance Championships".

The also website gives a brief overview of recent Australian performances over long course and Ironman triathlon. ............."Whilst Australia has dominated the Olympic distance over the years it has not been quite so successful over the longer distances. Other than Greg Welch’s 1994 Hawaii triumph and his 1993 and 1996 World ITU Long Course World Championship titles Aussies have had less to crow about at the longer end of the spectrum, with Americans and Europeans tending to dominate. Recently however things have begun to look up with 1997 ITU World Champ Chris McCormack stepping up to Ultra distance racing with a spectacular 8:24 on debut at Forster to become the first Australian to take the outright win in the Australian Championship since Rod Cedaro in 1990".

Unfortunately Triathlon Australia’s assessments of Australian performances over the longer distance triathlons is around 8 years out of date as the McCormack's Forster win referred to occurred in 2002.
McCormack went on to win 5 straight Ironman Australia titles and then of course two Hawaii Ironman’s.
No mention is made of Michellie Jones 2006 Hawaii win or Craig Alexanders 2008,9 Hawaii wins.
Indeed, since 2002 Australians have won dozens of Long Distance, Half Ironman and Full Ironman races around the world which makes the notion that Australians are "unsuccessful over the longer distances" redundant in 2010. Indeed, Australia could now arguably lay claim to being the world's most successful country in long distance triathlon.


Bureaucracy's revenge by Sue Neales, The Mercury

................."Why is the only person to lose his or her job over the horrific case of the 12-year-old Hobart girl sold for sex while a state ward the man who wrote the pivotal report first revealing the magnitude of the gross systemic failures and inadequacies within government?

How much then has Mr Mason been made the scapegoat for a sad and sorry affair that has bought no credit on the Bartlett Government?
How much is it a case of shoot the messenger or, more pertinently, the whistleblower, so a government and its ministers can avoid shouldering responsibility for the shocking case of the forsaken young girl and hope community outrage peters out?
And how much, too, is this about -- as Mr Mason believes -- a government wanting an excuse to get rid of a troublesome thorn in its side or to take retribution against an independent official who dared to criticise the Government and, in so doing, cause it political harm?"........ Read more here

Friends of the Tamar Valley tell Gunns its pulp mill is no friend of Tasmanians

MEDIA RELEASE: 17/10/2010

Tamar Community group ‘Friends of the Tamar Valley’ today called on the State and Federal governments to withdraw permits for the proposed Gunns Tamar Valley pulp mill.
This follows comments made by Gunns Ltd CEO Greg L’Estrange this weekend that improvements could be made for better effluent treatment and extra measures to reduce air pollution and odour.
“Over the past six years Tasmanians have received mixed messages from Gunns and its political supporters about whether the pulp mill will pollute. One day it will, the next it might, and the next it won’t – all depending on fits with the agenda of the day” said FTV spokesperson Anna Pilkington.

Greg L’Estrange has effectively admitted that the mill will pollute and that it will smell.

The Tasmanian Government’s own air quality strategy primarily exists because Launceston and the Tamar Valley have some of the worst air pollution in Australia during winter. Former RPDC pulp mill assessment panel expert Dr Warwick Raverty said that because of this the Tamar Valley is the worst possible place for a world scale Kraft pulp and chemical factory. We also know from Dr Raverty and others that there exists no Kraft pulp mill in the world that doesn’t smell.

Ms Pilkington continued, “For six years Gunns have assiduously avoided sitting down with and listening to pulp mill opponents who live in the Tamar Valley and nothing has changed in that respect despite the way Gunns are attempting to present themselves in the media through their latest PR campaign. Gunns and the Tasmanian government continue to grossly understate the ill-feeling in the Tasmanian community towards this project. and for Gunns to expect opponents to suddenly accept the pulp mill is tantamount to a bully expecting his victims to forgive, forget and live happily ever after together”.

The fact is that Gunns are now in damage control and desperate for a community pardon before its upcoming AGM".

“This simply will not happen. Gunns may save the company and it may well reform itself into a more socially responsible and ethical timber company, however it must accept that the pulp mill project is irretrievably damaged in the eyes of Tasmanians” Ms Pilkington concluded

CONTACT: Anna Pilkington. Mobile: 0439 899 760


Friday, October 15, 2010

Children's commissioner dumped after criticising Bartlett Government. Libs furious. Greens silent.

ABC news also reports Greens/Labor government cabinet secretary Cassy O'Connor has defended the government's appointment process for Children's Comissioner Paul Mason's replacement.

Listen to audio of Tim Cox's interview with Paul Mason 15/10/10
ABC's PM programme - Transcript and audio
Sue Neales in The Mercury
The Examiner

and from ABC...
..............."The selection panel who recommended Ms Ashford's appointment included her current boss, and the heads of three government agencies severely criticised in Mr Mason's recent report.

He believes the State Government is getting rid of him to avoid implementing the recommendations of his latest report.
The Liberals' spokesman Rene Hidding has told Parliament the situation is disgraceful.
"We have just learned that the first scapegoat of this entire thing is the former Children's Commissioner," he said.
"He has gone and I can tell you we are deeply concerned about this whole situation and we will be having more to say about that.
"You have appointed a public servant who has been at the heart of the child protection system," Mr Hidding said".............. Read more on ABC news online

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Aussie take medals in Commonwealth Games marathon

mens - Michael Shelley in only his second ever marathon took 2nd  and only 53secs down on winner.

womens - Lisa Weightman ran gutsy race to take 3rd behind 2 kenyans

Very hot conditions in Delhi. Well done aussies

Pro logging MLC grumpy re. forest protection reforms


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Calls for Thorp resignation growing

Read the Commissioner for Children's Report here
Sue Neales. The Mercury - 'How the state falied a 12yr old girl' 
Sue Neales. The Mercury - 'Pollies Dodge Blame'

Check out the selection of public comments below, taken from The Mercury online. - Ouch!!
See comments below and Read more here
"Do the right thing Lin - Resign. If you don't then you should be sacked. Your department failed and as a result you are RESPONSIBLE"

"Then we have the other issue of voting out this present lot of politician's that have made such a pigs foot of their responsibility with the consequent public outcry".

"In the name of everything that is right and proper this Minister must go and go now. This Minister owes it to each and every child in care to accept the responsibility on behalf of her failed Department and the appalling failures of her staff".

"If the greens had been in opposition they would have been screaming for the minister to resign over this or be sacked. Now their silence is deafening!!!

"Well Done Will Hodgman- I would love to second that motion along with the majority of the population"

"The time has come for Lin Thorp to "fall through the cracks"..

"Hear hear. I still can't believe that she was sunning in the Mediterranean at such a critical time".

Still Wild Still Threatened welcomes forests breakthrough. Call for moratorium on logging in high conservation value forests identified by Tasmanian ENGOs in peace talks.

..............“We are on the verge of a very welcome breakthrough in the Tasmanian forest debate. Unfortunately, new logging roads are being pushed into wilderness areas and high conservation value forests are being logged as we speak,” Still Wild Still Threatened Spokesperson Christo Mills said.

“Still Wild Still Threatened and the Huon Valley Environment Centre are calling for an immediate moratorium to be placed on all high conservation value forests identified by Tasmanian ENGOs, as a precursor to formal protection. We recommend that current logging operations in these forests cease and that no new logging coupes are started in high conservation value forests as of today” said Christo Mills............. Read More Here

Will Hodgman moves no confidence in Children's Minister Lin Thorp. Greens Leader Nick Mckim stands by Labor cabinet colleague.

"LIBERAL leader Will Hodgman has moved a motion of no confidence in Children's Minister Lin Thorp over the State Government's failure to properly protect a 12-year-old girl in state care from being prostituted by her mother and a family friend". Read more here - The Mercury


....."Ms Thorp was under siege. "I haven't got the capacity to answer your question as specifically as you would like," she told Parliament. Greens leader Nick McKim has told Parliament the Opposition is using the girl's "tragic circumstances" to score political points. "I believe that the Liberal Party has forgotten that in all cases the welfare of that child should be paramount," he said. "The Liberals have forgotten that, unfortunately, and very disappointingly have forgotten that because they see an opportunity to make some political mileage out of this issue. I find that despicable."....Read More here abc news online

Yes folks, this really happened in Australia.

Police deal crucial to desal go-ahead
by Paul Austin, The Age below & here 
October 12, 2010
CONSTRUCTION of Victoria's $5.7 billion desalination plant was in jeopardy until the state government struck a controversial deal under which police agreed to make available secret files on anti-desalination protesters to the private consortium building the plant.
Government documents obtained by The Age reveal the international consortium AquaSure feared ''civil disruption'' could prevent it delivering the project on time, and indicated it needed reassurance about police help before agreeing to take on the project.
They show the consortium signed the desalination contract - including a pledge to have it finished by the end of 2011 - only after the government put in writing a clause stating that Victoria Police would hand over photos, video recordings and other police records to AquaSure to help it ''manage'' protests and other potential security threats.
Since The Age last year revealed the contents of that memorandum of understanding - which states that police ''will release law enforcement data'' to AquaSure - Victoria Police and the government have said it was normal practice for such deals to be struck for contentious major protects.
The documents, obtained under freedom-of-information laws, show the desalination deal was drafted by the Victorian government Solicitor's Office at the request of the government after negotiations with the consortium on how to tackle the risk of protest action delaying construction.
The 20-page memorandum, signed by the government, Victoria Police and AquaSure, said the force ''will release law enforcement data'' to the private firm. It said such data might take the form of ''any text, images, audio and video'' and could include ''data related to individuals, aggregated data, written reports and correspondence, memoranda, police diaries, official notebooks, running sheets and other data repositories''.
Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland vowed last month never again to strike such agreements with private companies, after Victoria's police files watchdog condemned the desalination deal, saying it did not properly comply with privacy and human rights laws.
The Commissioner for Law Enforcement and Data Security, David Watts, told Parliament on September 23 that confusing internal policies had resulted in police striking ''inappropriate'' deals on the use of personal files. In a scathing 62-page report, the watchdog said he had found no evidence police had in fact given AquaSure sensitive personal information.
But he said the desalination agreement ''did not adequately take account of Victoria's human rights, information privacy and law enforcement data security laws and did not establish the mechanisms necessary to support compliance with them''.
The Age has now obtained under FOI more than 100 pages of government papers sent to the police files watchdog as part of his probe. They include a two-page document, prepared by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, headed ''Chronology of the background to entering into the Memorandum of Understanding''.
The chronology says that in December 2008 the private bidders for the desalination plant ''indicated unwillingness to take on the risk of delivering the project on time if it was delayed due to civil disruption''.
Noting the bidders were concerned about protests during preliminary works at the desalination site near Wonthaggi and during construction of the controversial north-south water pipeline, the document says: ''Further engagement in the bidding process suggested that the risk of delivery of the [desalination] project may be able to be transferred to bidders if the level of Victoria Police and state assistance to mitigate civil disruption was documented.''
It says department officials met senior police on March 11 last year, and the possibility of a deal involving the government, police and AquaSure was discussed. There was a further meeting at police headquarters on March 27, involving the government Solicitor's Office.
On April 22 the department requested in writing that the Solicitor's Office draft a memorandum. Senior police met officials from the office on May 4. It provided a draft agreement on July 2 and the deal was signed on August 28 last year.
The desalination plant is the key element of the government's multibillion-dollar plan to ''drought proof'' Victoria.
Government spokesman Luke Enright last night said there was never any doubt the project would go ahead.
''Any bidder on a controversial project of this scale would be keen to know how potential protest activity is going to be managed,'' he said. ''The desalination agreement was drawn up based upon agreements that Victoria Police have had in place with other organisations for a long time.''

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lennon forest peace push. An oxymoron.

"Lennon in forest peace push" from The Mercury. See article at bottom of blog entry.
Unless a miracle occurs and Paul Lennon tones down his divisive and belligerent past stance on the Tamar Valley pulp mill, a project which is only alive today thanks to his and Gunns strategic sidelining of the RPDC, any further involvement by the former premier in talks around the future of the logging industry will be seen as inflammatory and could lead to future warring between the industry (in Tasmanian, the industry is Gunns), environmental and local community groups.

With a 17% approval rating, Paul Lennon was loathed by Tasmanians at the time he was was forced out of office in 2008.  Under his leadership many Tasmanians complained they could no longer tell where the business of government began and the business of Gunns ended.  Under Paul Lennon, the Australain nation mocked the beautiful island state of Tasmania as being run by a logging crazy 'Gunnerment'.
Former Federal Labor leader Mark Latham once famoulsy observed ...“They [Gunns] run the state Labor Government, they run [Labor Premier] Lennon … and old Lennon there, he wouldn’t scratch himself unless the guy who heads up Gunns told him to".

During the state's independent Pulp Mill assessment process Tasmanians were promised a government that would be an independent overseer.  However Paul Lennon's personal interest in the pulp mill became so obsessive and improper that his actions helped bring about the resignations of a RPDC Pulp Mill assessment chief, a senior panellist and he had replacement panel chair Christoper Wright seething before Lennon and Gunns ultimately bought an end to the RPDC assessment process and then with the help of Gunns lawyers drafted Gunns a Pulp Mill law of its own.

Essentially the former Premier, Mr Lennon's involvement in Tasmania's assessment of the Gunns logging companies application to build a large Kraft pulp mill in Tasmania resulted in an unprecedented shit storm of scandals and controversies. Few would argue that the former Premier turned the pulp mill assessment into a social and governmental disaster, the effects of which Tasmanian are still living with today as the mill saga still threatens to poison the social and political fabric of this state for decades to come.
Lennon,s replacement David Bartlett dedicated the first few months of his tenure as Premier distancing himself from Lennon. Bartlett continually talked about how "recent events in the Tasmanian political scene had led to a degradation of trust in democracy" and the need to "reconnect with disaffected communities" . Bartlett even caved into mounting community pressure and paved the way for Tasmania's new integrity commission.

The Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 is an extraordinary piece of legislation which Gunns lawyers helped to prepare.  Neither Gunns nor the Tasmanian Government denies this.  The Legislation has been criticised extensively in legal and academic circles for effectively bullet-proofing the pulp mill from legal appeal.  Under the PMAA even bribery or other criminal conduct could not legally thwart the mill’s progress.

Upper House President Don Wing described Paul Lennon’s Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007, as “Gunns dream bill”. 

Richard Herr offered this insight about Paul Lennon's fast track pulp mill legislation intervention “Parliament took the stance ‘if we shove the legislation through quickly no-one will notice’ … but the people did notice and will not forget”.

Indeed, whilst Paul Lennon and his pulp mill mates and silver bodgies from politics and industry want pulp mill opponents to put a line under the past and move on, they simply wont.

At the height of the pulp mill controversy (2007) the nation watched as the Tasmanian Premier engulfed himself in one of the most pervasive scandals in the state’s history.  With public outrage growing it seemed to many that their worst fears about the close links between the Government and Gunns had been realised. Condemnation of the Premier came from across the political spectrum with widespread talk of corruption and calls for Mr Lennon’s resignation.

If the term ‘Gunnerment’ had not been entrenched in the local lexicon before Paul Lennon got his hands on the Pulp Mill, it was by the time he was forced out of office.  As the Gunns Pulp Mill controversy increasingly found its way into national and international headlines, outside observers continued to focus attention on the Tasmanian Government’s ‘special’ relationship with Gunns.

The national media grilled the Premier over many issues including why he had chosen the Gunns owned construction company Hinman, Wright and Manser to renovate his Broadmarsh mansion.  Hinman, Wright and Manser are normally a civil construction company that focuses on large construction projects. A peculiar and controversial choice by the Premier.  As the media’s interest intensified Mr Lennon denied getting mates’ rates for the renovations and was furious at what he argued was an attack on his family.

A curious perspective from a hard nosed politician who had thrived on his reputation as a political head kicker.  Paul Lennon could not appreciate that having his house renovations done by Gunns whilst the same company was looking for Government approval for the pulp mill created the perception of mates looking after mates. The Premier even saw fit to parade the highly controversial mansion makeover in a pictorial spread in the Women’s Weekly magazine. The Premier’s response to his accusers “What, just because I’m the Premier doesn’t mean that I can’t do what other families do does it?”

As a politician Lennon was loved by few and loathed by many.

That is not unique for high profile politicians. What is unique and well known about Lennon was his hatred of the Greens and environmentalists and his single minded support of Tasmanian logging interests, often to the detriment of inclusive and proper process, good governance and community minded outcomes.

We need only look to Geoff Law of the Wilderness Society who famously claimed that he was grabbed by his collar and shoved up against a wall by Paul Lennon years before Lennon became Tasmanian premier.
Perhaps even more damning was the effect Lennon had on Julian Green the highly respected former Secretary of the Justice Department who had been appointed by the Lennon government as RPDC Executive Commissioner and RPDC Pulp Mill assessment panel chief.   According to fellow RPDC panellist Warwick Raverty, Julian Green was infuriated and fed up by Premier Lennon's conduct whilst Green's RPDC panel were trying to assess the mill free from government interference which at the time was largely arising out of the ridiculous pulp mill propaganda unit set up by the Lennon Government  - The Pulp Mill Task Force.

According to Dr Warwick Raverty, Julian Green was so upset and angry at Lennon he described him as a "little cunt", and refused to meet Mr Lennon before he left the RPDC because he (Green) thought he might punch Lennon.  Julian Green resigned from the RPDC in January 2007 citing political interference and the activities of the Pulp Mill Task Force.  His resignation followed close on the heels of fellow panellist and national authority on Kraft Pulp Mills, Dr Warwick Raverty, who had cited the same reasons. As internal correspondence from the RPDC’s pulp mill assessment panel leaked into the media it was revealed that Julian Green had in December 2006 said “the RPDC had bent over backwards to help Gunns” .....“it was only because Gunns were a Tasmanian company that the project had not been thrown out already”.

Indeed Dr. Warwick Raverty, a good and decent man who had devoted his scientific career to conducting research aimed at assisting the pulp and paper industry to become truly sustainable, must have wished he’d never set foot in Tasmania. Warwick Raverty later stated that he would “welcome a criminal justice commission, or royal commission” and “was pretty sure that Julian Green would also”.

The manipulation of the pulp mill assessment process by the Lennon Government will be remembered as a low point for representative democracy in Tasmania.Tasmanians do deserve a thorough investigation into the Gunns Pulp Mill and in particular Paul Lennon's involvement. Questions need to be answered, as Professor Herr argued “to the satisfaction of the public, not to the convenience of the parties”.

If the issue continues to be sidestepped and swept under the carpet, Tasmania will continue to pay the price.
It will, as Dr Herr suggested “overhang the political process for a very long time”.

Serious questions remain over the conduct of the former Premier in his administration of the Gunns Pulp Mill.

The recent Legislative Council Select Committee which looked into Public Sector Executive Appointments said ..........
"It is open, on the evidence presented in this Report, for a reasonable person to conclude on balance, that the Lennon Government‘s commitment to the Pulp Mill was such that any and all obstacles to its expeditious approval had to be eliminated"........Such was the depth of commitment to the Pulp Mill within the Lennon Government, that the Secretary for the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Ms Linda Hornsey evidently took it upon herself to intervene in the proper internal processes of an independent, quasi-judicial agency of government".

The solution of Paul Lennon as mediator between divided logging industry reps is one thing. Lennon is understandably loved and respected by his long time benefactors in the logging industry.
However Lennon is loathed and mistrusted by environmentalists and conservation groups in Tasmania.

Indeed the last thing the Tasmanian community needs whilst they are still reeling from the divisive Lennon years, is to have the most controversial Premier since Robin Gray returning to a key role in planning the future of Tasmania's forests and in particular the proposed Tamar Pulp Mill.

PM Julia Gillard, Premier David Bartlett, muted Greens leader Nick Mckim and opposition leader Will Hodgman simply must not let that happen.

  • ............Agreement that the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar valley can go ahead without protests.
Mr Lennon is believed to have told the industry that unless it could agree to the peace pact principles by this weekend, there was a possibility either the state or federal government would step in and impose a solution. The State Government is concerned that when the $177 million Brighton Bypass and $79 million Brighton transport hub are completed, there will be no major infrastructure project offering construction jobs in the state. Swift construction of the Gunns pulp mill, which will now use only plantation timber, is considered imperative by the Government to keep the economy moving".....Read more in The Mercury here

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dejavu. Gunns set to slash more jobs. 120 jobs could go in Western Australia as Gunns CEO primes for multi million dollar pay day

Gunns threatens to shut WA sawmill operations - pull out of state.
Manjimup in shock.

Wednesday, 06/10/2010............"The news comes after Gunns announced it would pull out of the forest logging sector in Tasmania. Mr DeCampo says the withdrawal will devastate the town, with about 120 workers likely to lose their jobs and hundreds more affected. "It makes me sick to the core to think of that and you know, this is little justice, but we're putting a team together to help cope with that," he says. But that will still never negate that finality of not having a job to go to next week."........................................Read more on ABC News online - here

......"Mr L’Estrange added the review could result in the company exiting the state. The ABC reported that Gunns could shut down the jarrah sawmill in the South-West in the next two weeks unless a buyer could be found. If there is no interest, the Deanmill operation will close in November, with the Manjimup processing centre to follow within 18 months. Around 120 people are employed in the South-West operations" more on Perth Now.

.............."THE small southwest logging town of Manjimup in Western Australia is bracing for a massive downturn. This follows Gunns's decision to pull out of the state's largest native forest mill and processing plant. Manjimup shire president Wade De Campo said the town would be debilitated by the loss of the mill and plant 300km south of Perth, which employed more than 600 people directly and indirectly"........ read more in The Australian


Gunns CEO Million Dollar pay day here and

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pulp Mill price tag keeps changing. Please Explain Gunns?

Clearly Nick Clark down at the Mercury does not buy Gunns latest claim that the pulp mill will only cost 1.4 billion.

On October 2, just a few days ago Nick Clark reported in the Mercury Newspaper....."TIMBER giant Gunns Limited is confident it can start building its $1.4 billion Bell Bay pulp mill this year.............A Gunns spokesman yesterday said the company didn't expect the mill to cost any more than its previous $1.4 billion price tag and was not considering any significant changes to the mill.".  Here

In today's Mercury, October 5 Nick Clark says.... "Mr L'Estrange is trying to transition Gunns out of old-growth logging and sawmilling and into a plantation-based industry including the $2.2 billion Bell Bay pulp mill". here

Dont feel bad Nick. No one else buys Gunns statements these days.

Further to my earlier query.

On page 15 of the Gunns release to the ASX from September 10 2010, only 3 weeks before a Gunn's spokesperson told the Mercury the mill would only cost $1.4billion  (here) , Greg Lestrange said capital cost of the mill will be $2.3 billion?? ..."This is a large project with some of the facts 1. The facility has a capital cost of $2.3 billion".
Indeed Greg.
Gunns own Southern Star Corporation website agrees saying....... "At a capital expenditure cost of $2.3 billion, Gunns’ pulp mill proposal is the largest-ever investment by the private sector in Tasmania"..

Nowhere in any of Gunns statements to the ASX of the last few years has the company put a cost on the pulp mill of anywhere near as low as $1.4Billion
My question to Gunns is what has changed in the last 3 weeks to drop mill capital costs by $0.9billion or did Gunns attempt to mislead Nick Clark and The Mercury on October 2 by telling him the mill would only cost $1.4Billion?
Fluctuations in the Aussie dollar over 3 weeks cant account for a $900million dollar cost differential.
And Nick Clark is now saying today the project will cost 2.2 billion again?

Please explain Gunns.

Drastic estimate changes on the Pulp Mill's price tag, promised mill jobs and economic benefits seem to change according to the political or otherwise needs of Gunns. This blogger first broke the story that former federal forest minister Tony Burke had supplied (cough, cough) the federal parliement with dodgy overinflated Pulp Mill jobs estimates which his department eventually took the fall for.
It was only in February this years when a Tasmanian Gunnermment media release spruiking Gunns mill told us the mill would cost $2.6billion.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gunns to extend Tamar Valley's torture to 7 years. Million dollar Gunns CEO stands to gain extra $1Million if Tamar Valley mill gets up.

Gunns have told the stock exchange that construction of their unfinanced and unpopular pulp mill will commence some time during the 2011 financial year here. Gunns have also told the stock exchange they will pay CEO Greg L'Estrange a $1million salary with a an extra $1million "performance incentive component". Gunn say's the performance component is based on an achievment of objectives etablished in the group strategic review. The primary objective in that strategic review outlined to the ASX in February is to achieve project finance and get the Tamar Valley pulp mill underway.
Mr L'Estrange who is striving for a cuddlier image than previous CEO John Gay will no doubt play down the personal financial incentive involved in building the unpopular mill project instead continuing to work closely with Gunns PR to cultivate the public image of Gunns - the born again logging company, getting out of native forests into our hearts .
If' the Gunns logging company's myopic and selfish pulp obsession had not inflicted so much hardship and anxiety on so many good and decent residents and business people in the Tamar Valley this ridiculously drawn out saga could be laughed off as high farce.
Despite the Tasmanian Government's chronic state of denial, Gunns proposed pulp mill continues to poison and overhang Tasmania's social and political fabric and is still the most likely issue in Tasmania to derail the Labor/Green government.
Gunns insist on building a mill that was pulled from Tasmania's statutory planning process through a brazen act of corporate and political trickery. A special pulp mill act was then drafted by the government with the help of gunns lawyers and then rubber stamped in the parliament by Tasmania's big political parties both of whom have a sordid history of subservience and cosy allegiance to Tasmania's biggest company.
In a paper presented to the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009 Tom Baxter, Lecturer at the School of Accounting and Corporate Governance, University of Tasmania and Roland Browne of Fitzgerald and Browne Solicitors stated,
..."The resource curse is generally associated with non-industrialised economies. In such a nation, a government might agree to a corporation’s demand to change the law to facilitate the approval of a major project. Regrettably, however, such scenarios are not uncommon in Tasmania.
In a current example, Gunns Limited, in its quest to build a pulp mill in northern Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, has caused a statutory process to be swept aside and replaced with project-specific State legislation. The only difference between the Tasmanian response to Gunns’ demands and that of the developing economy’s government in the example above is in the speed of response: in Tasmania, the Government agreed apparently overnight to change the law. In developing countries it takes a little longer".
The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians loathe Gunns, loathe the proposed pulp mill and if Gunns attempt to construct the project it will be plagued by protest, lawsuits and if opponents are true to their word the area in the iconic Tamar Valley near the mill will resemble a protesters war zone similar to the border of Argentina and Uruguay (since the contstruction of the divisive and unpopular Botnia Pulp Mill in Frey Bentos).
Gunns and the Tasmanian Government are acutely aware of this yet continue to ignore local communities intense and sustained dissatisfaction with being forced to host the massive project.
Despite the best wishes of the Gunns and the Tasmanian logging industry The Wilderness Society remains implacably opposed to the project and has vowed to continue its campaign against the project alonsgside community groups in the Tamar Valley.
Yet Gunns continue to ignore and steamroll the stakeholder communities and businesses in the Tamar Valley.
In their quest to retire debt and reposition their bottom line for a pulp mill financier Gunns have recently slashed more long term local jobs than the pulp mill will provide for local tasmanians. Today the project is thought of as liable to cost Tasmania more than it will benefit the state and as such is less welcome than ever.
The Gunns Pulp Mill is now the final barrier to peace between the big logging company and the Tasmanian community. Gunns know this, Tasmanians and our politicians know this. For Gunns and their friends in the Tasmanian parliament to continue pushing this project whilst running a parallel PR campaign professing a desire to end Tasmania's so called "forest wars" is typical of the tricky approach the Gunns logging company has taken in public relations. However Australians are not prone to being fooled easily and continue to regard the proposed Tamar Valley project as a selfish, irresponsible and ultimately illegitimate venture.

............and from the papers..............mercury and smh

Read more about why the proposed Gunns/joint foreign owned pulp mill is so on the nose with most Australians See "Reading Link" below in next blog entry