Image for Gunns ASX statement disputed. I got it wrong, says Lara. CODE strike.

Tamar Valley community organisations today denied claims that Gunns Ltd has been in consultation with them regarding Gunns proposed pulp mill.

Gunns Ltd’s CEO, Greg L’Estrange, in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange and the Australian media, (3/3/11), advised that Gunns Ltd have been consulting with community groups as part of the approval process: HERE

Community groups opposed to the Gunns pulp mill proposal categorically reject that they have been in any way, part of any consultative process and advise that any inference that consultation has occurred would be misleading to investors and the ASX.

Community Groups reiterate that they remain completely opposed to the Gunns’ Tamar Valley pulp mill proposal.

Anna Pilkington, Friends Of The Tamar Valley
Bob McMahon, TAP Into A Better Tasmania
Lucy Landon-Lane, Pulp The Mill

Sue Neales, Mercury:

I got it wrong on mill Lara

PREMIER Lara Giddings has apologised for delivering a gilded version of the sequence of events that led to the $2.5 billion Tamar Valley pulp mill being fast-tracked through State Parliament in 2007.

Under questioning from Greens pulp mill spokesman Kim Booth in Parliament yesterday, Ms Giddings admitted she could have “got it wrong” in a recent ABC radio interview.

Mr Booth accused the Premier of sanitising what he said had been a “corrupted” approval process when she claimed the Gunns pulp mill had been “pulled out of the Resource Planning and Development Commission process and put into a new Project of State Significance process”.

Mr Booth said this was not the case, saying Gunns had withdrawn from the RPDC process after being tipped off by government officials that its pulp mill was set to be found “critically non-compliant” and unlikely to win approval.

At the time, former premier Paul Lennon immediately pledged to have the project approved by Parliament by “fast-track” legislation.

Mr Booth accused Ms Giddings of wrongly claiming on radio all “other issues” associated with the pulp mill had been fully assessed, such as its impact on the health and safety of the residents of the Tamar Valley from air pollution, chemical pollution of state coastal waters and water catchments contamination.

Ms Giddings conceded she might have got it wrong on ABC radio and apologised.

“But it is not true to say that there has not been rigorous assessment of the pulp mill. In fact 38 permits have been required by this project, which has been assessed against some of the toughest criteria available at that time,” Ms Giddings told Parliament.

“There is independence around all of this. We have an Environment Protection Authority, an independent authority which reviews and is responsible for those permits, and we also have a federal process imposed across this pulp mill.”

The Greens introduced draft legislation yesterday to revoke the 2007 approval.

Ms Giddings said Labor and the Liberals backed the pulp mill so the Greens move was doomed.

Sue Neales’  HERE

Let Them Eat Sponge Cake: Dave Groves, Cartoons, HERE

Dr Lisa Searle, CODE:   

Protesters stop forestry operations in High Conservation Value (HCV) forest

Protesters today trespassed into a working Forestry Tasmania coupe and stopped operations. One protestor attached themselves to machinery in a suspended tree-sit. The protestors are from the Launceston-based group Community Opposing the Destruction of the Environment (CODE).

This coupe is in high conservation value (HCV), old growth forest and the group has photographic evidence of healthy Tasmanian Devils in this forest immediately adjacent to the coupe. The Tasmanian Devil population has now declined by 90% and it is officially an endangered species. One of the threats they are facing is habitat destruction, and Forestry Tasmania does not look for maternal dens before logging in native forest. Maternal devil dens and the young living in them are destroyed by logging practises. 

Despite endorsing an agreement to stop all logging in HCV forest by March 15, the state government has still not ordered Forestry Tasmania to implement this moratorium as promised and logging is continuing all over Tasmania in coupes such as this. 

“We have photographic evidence of new roads being pushed in to these beautiful forests, and it is clear that logging is planned to continue in these coupes well after the March 15 deadline. There are only 6 days to go until the moratorium, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that the industry and the government never had any intention of sticking to this moratorium and have been lying to us from the beginning.” Dr Searle said. 

“Once these trees and this forest is gone, it’s gone forever,” Dr Searle said. “We will continue to put pressure on the State government forests sub-committee - Premier Lara Giddings, Greens leader Nick McKim, and Forestry Minister Bryan Green - to order Forestry Tasmania to implement this moratorium. We have a lot of support from the community and we will use everything we have to stop these trees from falling.”