Image for Gunns AGM Notice and 2011 Annual Report. MLCs decide forest deal future

Posted on October 24, 2011 by gunnsblog (HERE)

Gunns Limited today released to the Australian Securities Exchange its 2011 Annual Report and Notice of Annual General Meeting.

To download these documents click on the links below:
2011 Annual Report: HERE (note this is a 3.5MB file)
Notice of Annual General Meeting: HERE

Or Download notice of meeting here:
Final-Notice-of-Meeting.PDF

Today’s Share Price: HERE

First published: 2011-10-24 07:31 PM

• ABC Online: MLCs decide forest deal future

Tasmania’s Upper House is expected today to decide whether to block legislation crucial to the federally-funded forest peace deal.

The independent-dominated Legislative Council wants the State Government to release its legal advice which led to a $23 million buy out of Gunns’ native timber rights under the forest agreement.

The forest agreement to end almost all native forest logging needs the Upper House to approve bills which establish new reserves.

The House will debate Opposition MLC Vanessa Goodwin’s motion to ignore any legislation associated with the $276 million agreement until the advice is made public.

Ms Goodwin expects her colleagues to back her bid.

“It’s about transparency. The community wants to know why this money’s been paid to Gunns, whether they were under an obligation to go down that path and by continuously refusing to provide this advice it just suggests that there’s something wrong here and the Premier is just being stubborn,” she said.

The legal advice also backed an $11.5 million payment to Forestry Tasmania to settle a debt dispute with Gunns.

The Premier will not release the advice and says her offer for a private briefing was promptly rejected by Upper House MPs.

ABC Online HERE

• Matthew Denholm, The Australian: Missing peace in forest war’s coupe de grace

MORE than two months after the landmark deal that promised to bring peace to Tasmania’s forests the protests - and the logging - continue unabated.

Funding for the struggling timber industry under the landmark $276 million Gillard-Giddings deal is starting to trickle out, but as yet not one tree has been saved.

Conservationists concede they may end up with nothing to show for 18 months of torturous negotiations, while many in the industry are sceptical that the promised peace will ever be achieved. The key decisions - on how many and which forests will be saved - are bogged down in difficult detail and alleged recalcitrance.

Tasmania’s upper house, meanwhile, is lining up to sink the legislation needed to create the new national parks and reserves.

A key conservationist and negotiator, Environment Tasmania director Phill Pullinger, concedes to Inquirer that events could conspire to see money flow to industry without one tree ever being saved.

“To be honest, it is a possibility,” says Pullinger, a Hobart doctor and former young Tasmanian of the year. “It has always been the case that the forest protection couldn’t be permanently delivered until the legislation goes through both houses of the Tasmanian parliament.”

That vote is a long way off, probably well into next year. The most immediate hurdle to overcome is a row over whether the state-owned Forestry Tasmania should be allowed to continue logging in 41 coupes (forest areas).

All are within 430,000ha of forests set aside for “immediate” interim protection in the Gillard-Giddings deal of August 7, known as the Forests Intergovernmental Agreement or IGA.

Forestry Tasmania insists it needs to log in these coupes, a fraction of the total area, to maintain existing contracts to timber mills. Conservationists argue Forestry Tasmania could and should reschedule logging to less ecologically significant forests.

The dispute was being sorted out by an independent rescheduling team appointed by state and federal governments. Inquirer has learned this process has gone badly for conservationists, with only seven of the 41 coupes able to be protected and five already logged. Forestry Tasmania and industry claim there simply is not time to do the rescheduling work - new roads, development of forest practices plans - necessary to shift to new areas quickly enough to meet existing timber contracts.

Conservationists claim this should have been done months ago, given that Forestry Tasmania was asked by the state government - its owner - to place a moratorium on logging in these forests in March. “They (FT) have basically for 12 months now deliberately spun the wheels on that; there could easily have been a moratorium delivered six or nine months ago,” Pullinger says. “It is a fundamental problem that has weakened the (peace) process: you’ve got a government agency that is essentially working against the agreement. And the governments haven’t shown the stomach to pull the agency into line.”

This is rare intemperate talk from Pullinger, normally diplomatic and restrained as he tries to keep his constituency in the peace ...

Read the rest HERE

• ABC Online: Minister attacks mill manager

Tasmania’s Infrastructure Minister has accused the manager of the Triabunna woodchip mill of asking his office to ‘heavy’ TasPorts into resolving a lease dispute.

David O’Byrne has used Question Time to dispute environmentalist-turned mill manager Alec Marr’s claims that the Government is attempting to slow down the re-opening of the east coast plant.

Mr Marr says a lease dispute with TasPorts is holding up the process and the Government is refusing to act.

But Mr O’Byrne maintains the Government can not get involved in the negotiations and has slammed Mr Marr for using the media to advance his cause.

He says Mr Marr asked his office to ‘heavy’ TasPorts.

“Don’t come in here saying Alec Marr is a clean player in this, that’s ridiculous.”

“He tried to contact my office and we’ve been in contact with him, where he sought to get us to heavy, to heavy TasPorts in what is essentially a commercial negotiation.

“We’re not going to do that,” the minister said.

Mr O’Byrne says he has urged TasPorts to finalise negotiations.

Mr Marr has vehemently denied the accusation.

He says Ministers involved had told the company that the issue was being sorted.

“We’ve been told that TasPorts had come up with a new proposal which would resolve the matter.”

“We waited a week, nothing happened.

“We then wrote to TasPorts and we got a letter back saying well actually nothing’s changed.

“It was at this point I rang the Minister’s office and said come on let’s stop this stuff going around in circles and get these issues resolved,” Mr Marr said.

Mr Marr says the rift is the key impediment to the reopening of the mill which is a linchpin for the forestry industry in the state’s south.

ABC Online HERE

• Watch Vanessa Goodwin speak to the bill (Permanent link on TT TasCam, top Nav Bar)  or ...

http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/Parliament/lctbs.htm

Motion below (see here on page 4 http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/LC/lcnote.pdf)

10 Dr Goodwin to move:
(1) That the Premier cause to be laid on the Table through the Leader or the Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council the advice provided by the Solicitor-General with regard to the so-called ‘residual legal rights’ of Gunns Limited under its contracts with Forestry Tasmania following Gunns Limited’s voluntary exit from native forest harvesting in Tasmania.
(2) That the advice be Tabled by no later than 5.00 o’clock pm on Wednesday, 26 October 2011.
(3) That when Tabled the advice shall be a public document.
(4) That until the Solicitor-General’s advice is Tabled the Legislative Council shall not consider any Bill initiated by the Government intended to implement the Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Tasmania.