Image for I’m no Gunns’ lobbyist: Lennon

FORMER Tasmanian Labor premier Paul Lennon has become an ongoing consultant to the nation’s timber industry as it negotiates with conservationists, attending high-level meetings with federal ministers.

Mr Lennon confirmed his role to The Weekend Australian, but insisted he was not acting as a lobbyist or on behalf of Gunns, whose pulp mill project he controversially fast-tracked when in office.

He confirmed he had attended meetings with federal ministers, including Environment Minister Tony Burke, who leads forestry negotiations.

The involvement of the former pro-logging, pro-pulp mill premier in the forest “peace process” as a consultant to the National Association of Forest Industries has spooked conservationists.

Mr Lennon helped secure the support of the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania for last year’s interim “statement of principles” that is guiding the current talks. Even so, conservation groups are suspicious of Mr Lennon, whose conduct as premier in fast-tracking Gunns’ mill led to critical findings by a parliamentary inquiry and a recent Integrity Commission complaint.

NAFI chief executive Allan Hansard said Mr Lennon was well respected in the timber industry and was helpful in “facilitating aspects” of the forestry peace talks with green groups.

Mr Lennon said he attended meetings with federal ministers in Canberra as part of a delegation involving NAFI, including a meeting with Mr Burke. “There wasn’t any lobbying going on it was just a report back, from industry point of view, where they saw the situation at the time,” he said.

Read the rest HERE

Gunns’ sliding Share Price, HERE

And,

• Russian log and lumber exports increased substantially in 1Q/11 thanks to higher wood demand in China, Finland and Japan, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly

The world’s largest log exporter, Russia, increased the shipments of logs in the 1Q/11 after having declined for four years, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Russian exports of softwood lumber have also gone up substantially, especially to China, Uzbekistan, Japan and Egypt. 

The full article can be found in the attached PDF file…..: GTWMU_Russia_log_lumber_exports_1Q_2011.pdf