THIS WEEK, either Today or Wednesday, the Tasmanian State Government will decide how many millions of dollars they will loan to Aprin Logging subsidiary companies to purchase the unprofitable Triabunna woodchip mill from Gunns.
A recommendation has already gone to the Minister, David O’Byrne.
The attached documentation (Download below) reveals the following:
• Aprin Pty Ltd (parent company) has 58 ASIC charges listed against it, many of which remain unresolved.
• The four subsidiary companies were established in 9 June 2011 and are each valued at $24 with $1 shares.
• The Government is considering providing millions of dollars to a 10-day old company valued at $24.
The following questions should be asked:
• Who is really behind Aprin’s bid for the mill? Shares are held in a trust, who for?
• Are former Gunns Ltd CEO John Gay and former Gunns Director Robin Gray involved?
• Is former Premier Paul Lennon involved?
• How much public money is going to be given to the company? Is it the same amount that is being ‘saved’ from school closures?
• Is the contract between Gunns and Aprin dependent upon State Government financial support, i.e. They have effectively established an account for public funds to be received into and then passed to Gunns?
• The Greens have said they will move a motion of no confidence in a Government if any more public funds are provided to Gunns (which is essentially what this is). Will they?
• How can the State Government, while closing 20 schools through lack of funds contemplate providing millions to this company?
• Also on Tasmanian Times today: Why has Aprin got its hand out?
• Mercury: Mill loan up in the air
• TREASURER MUST REJECT APRIN LOAN
Request Now With the Treasurer
Tim Morris MP
Greens Treasury spokesperson
The Tasmanian Greens today said the decision of whether Aprin subsidiary, Fibre Plus, will be granted a loan funded by the taxpayer in order to buy the Triabunna woodchip mill is clearly in the Treasurer’s court.
Greens Treasury spokesperson Tim Morris MP said it appears that the Tasmanian Development Board’s recommendation to the Economic Development Minister, David O’Byrne, has been approved to the extent that the application is now with the Treasurer to either approve or reject.
Mr Morris also called for the public release of the amount of money requested by Fibre Plus for the loan.
“The Greens are adamant that far too much public money has been sunk into trying to prop up an unviable woodchip industry, and that no further public monies should go into subsidising a private company’s attempt to purchase the Triabunna Woodchip Mill,” Mr Morris said.
“It is disturbing that the only information in the public arena about this request for a publicly funded loan has been released due to Greens’ questioning. This ongoing culture of secrecy to protect a corporate interest at the potential expense of the taxpayer needs to end.”
“Due to Greens questioning we have now further discovered that it appears that Economic Minister David O’Byrne has approved the Tasmanian Development Board recommendation to grant the loan to the extent that the matter now rests with the Treasurer.”
“The ball is now in Treasurer Gidding’s court. Ms Giddings needs to both release the amount of public monies requested to be loaned to Fibre Plus, and she needs to rule out the loan request.”
“Clearly there is no evidence to show that this is a commercially viable venture and Tasmanians cannot afford to have their hard-earned money be sunk into yet another woodchip industry black-hole.”
• ABC Online: Gunns timber buy back talks
It is been revealed the Tasmanian Government is already in talks with the timber company Gunns about buying back its native forest contracts.
The Resources Minister Bryan Green told a budget estimates hearing last night Treasury had met Gunns to discuss the issue of resource buy backs.
“This all goes to supporting the priniple process, it’s about making sure the inudstry has a future,” the minister said.
Mr Green would not reveal any details about costs, saying there is still no agreement.
“If there is a decision to be made it will be made that’s above board in regards to the process,” he said.
The Resources Department secretary, Norm McIlfatrick, says the talks started less than a month ago.
Almost $1 million of taxpayers funds have been spent on Tasmania’s forest peace talks so far.
Mr Green told a budget estimates hearing yesterday, the 10 industry and environment groups involved in the talks split $250,000 in funding.
His department has spent more than $280,000 in cultivating an agreement, while Forestry Tasmania got $100,000 to cover its costs.
Mr Green said the Commonwealth footed the $350,000 bill to help the former union boss Bill Kelty facilitate a deal.
“That was in this current year,” he said.
The in-principle agreement released last week still has not been signed by the major industry players.
The Treasurer has been asked to decide whether the company which is buying the Triabunna woodchip mill should be granted a State Government loan.
The Economic Development Board has reccommended the Treasurer and Premier, Lara Giddings, consider granting the loan to Fibre Plus Tasmania, which is due to take over the mill this week.
The Greens are urging Ms Giddings against approving the loan, given the state’s tight budget situation and forest industry uncertainty.
It is unclear how much money the company wants to borrow.
Forestry and environment representatives are today due to appear …
First published: 2011-06-27 07:59 AM