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AN independent forestry expert has been appointed to oversee assessment of future forestry resource availability and industry requirements in Tasmania.

Signatories to the forest peace talks requested an independent verification team, which led to the appointment of Professor Jerry Vanclay, the head of the School of Environmental Science & Management at Southern Cross University.

It is understood the team will oversee work by Forestry Tasmania and the timber industry on the quantity of native forest timber the sawmilling industry needs in the future, which in turn would affect the area able to be put into any new reserves.

The statement of principles has examined the placing of up to 570,000ha in new forest reserves.

The negotiations, convened by independent forest facilitator Bill Kelty, have been based on a belief among signatories that Federal Government compensation would be paid to timber firms which handed back licences to use native forest timber.

Professor Vanclay’s salary is being paid by the Department of Fisheries and Forests.

Mr Kelty said the modelling work would be completed by June, when he has pledged to tell the Federal Government whether he believes an agreement is possible.

He said that signatories to the negotiations had met in Hobart this week and reaffirmed their commitment.

Mr Kelty’s statement came as the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and other groups outside the negotiations rejected any deal which linked the conservation of forests with the Gunns Limited pulp mill. ( On TT HERE: Conservation groups unite )

Mr Kelty said in March that an agreement was reliant on environmental, non-government organisations embracing the Gunns pulp mill.

Premier Lara Giddings has also said for agreement on putting any further trees into high-conservation value reserves the pulp mill had to be part of the equation.

http://www.themercury.com.au/article/2011/05/11/229101_tasmania-news.html” title=“Full Mercury story HERE”>Full Mercury story HERE

Vica Bayley, TWS: Disappointment at lack of federal funding for forest resolution

• Examiner: Poll shows polarisation on pulp mill

BY ALISON ANDREWS
12 May, 2011 08:40 AM

TASMANIANS are relatively evenly divided over whether Gunns should build a pulp mill at Bell Bay, according to a survey released yesterday.

The survey, commissioned by Gunns and carried out by Southern Tasmanian-based company Myriad Research, found that 37 per cent of those contacted supported building the proposed $2.3 billion mill.

Of the 1002 people surveyed across the state, 40 per cent opposed the mill and 23 per cent did not have an opinion either way.

The survey also found that 72 per cent of Tasmanians were aware of the new state forest agreement.

In terms of the forestry industry, 45 per cent were supportive of the industry, with 20 per cent against it.

The phone survey was held over three weeks from February 22 to March 15.

Gunns managing director Greg L’Estrange said that the poll results showed that Gunns had more work to do to convince Tasmanians that the pulp mill was safe and would not adversely effect marine and air environments.

“We also clearly need to communicate more strongly that the mill will be 100 per cent plantation-fed as the survey found that a surprising 35 per cent of Tasmanians are unsure or think that the raw material will be from native forests,” Mr L’Estrange said.

Other key findings include:

•Support for the proposed mill is strongest on the North-West Coast (52 per cent) and the Tamar Valley (45 per cent) and weakest in Launceston (34 per cent) and Southern Tasmania (27 per cent).

•Blue-collar workers and men are more supportive of the project and the company than white- collar workers and women.

•The way Tasmanians view Gunns is similar to their pulp mill support, with 32 per cent positive, 34 per cent with no opinion and 34 per cent negative.

Read the full article HERE

Mercury:

NICK CLARK   |  May 12, 2011 12.01am

PULP mill proponent Gunns Limited has tried to counter claims that its Tamar Valley proposal is overwhelmingly opposed in Tasmania.

The company released a survey yesterday which showed 40 per cent of Tasmanians opposed the proposed mill, 37 per cent were supportive and 23 per cent were neutral or had not made up their minds.

The survey, conducted for Gunns by Tasmanian firm Myriad Research, also showed 34 per cent were negative about Gunns as a company, 32 per cent positive and 34 per cent neutral.

The results come as Gunns continues to seek a joint-venture partner and finance for the $2.5 billion mill proposed for Long Reach, north of Launceston.

Under the 2007 pulp mill permits, Gunns has until August 24 to “substantially commence” construction of the mill.

Gunns managing director Greg L’Estrange said the poll results showed the company still had work to do to convince Tasmanians the mill was safe and would not be to the detriment of air quality or the marine environment.

The survey showed support for the mill was strongest (52 per cent) in the North-West, and Tamar Valley (45 per cent) and weakest in Launceston (34 per cent) and southern Tasmania (27 per cent).

Full article HERE