Image for No more circus funding

We should expose last week’s “walk-out” by TWS from the Forestry talks for the fraud that it is. 

This was an orchestrated stunt, badly executed, in a terrible circus.  It was followed by the even more cringe-worthy ventriloquist act from the Puppet-premier of Parliament and then, to cap it off, Terry the Tough-guy Edwards doing his comedy routine with Slick-Vica.

Now, these comedians tell us, all that is required is another $100 million or so from the tax-payers to upgrade the circus, and hey-presto – another rabbit!

Has all of Tasmania gone mad, that we sit in thrall of this act?

The facts are simple:  As a result of their own bad strategy, Gunns is broke.  In supporting the Gunns strategy, FT has gone broke.  The contractors who relied on Gunns contracts are therefore broke.  The pulp mill is not being built.  The Greens, TWS and other ENGO’s are manipulating these circumstances to achieve their ultimate objective of locking up all Tasmanian native forests.

Unfortunately, the report by Denholm in the Weekend Australian dealing with the TWS walk out (“Forest peace lost in the wilderness”, 21 May:  HERE) is biased. 

He presents the solution as a simple and logical matter of paying the industry to cease harvesting of native forests in return for the industry’s agreement to lock up native forests.  This perpetuates the fake mythology that Tasmania’s forestry “wars” are conducted between Greenies on the one side and Foresters on the other.  Not true.  Middle Tasmania has a deep attachment to our forests and we are not satisfied with the options on the table in these “peace” talks – particularly the hidden trade off – ENGO consent for the Gunns pulp mill. (Green groups reneged on Gunns mill: timber industry)

We need to separate certain key arguments.

There is no justification for further public funds to be applied to bailing out failed forestry companies and contractors.  Gunns fought a savage war to become the monopoly player in Tasmania’s forests.  It was fully supported in its endeavours by successive state and federal governments, Forestry Tasmania and gullible contractors.  Gunns strategy has failed.  Now the players who hoped to benefit from Gunns lunatic aggression wants the public to compensate their failure? 

Pardon me if I object.

There is no justification for a perpetual lock up of more Tasmanian native forests.  The Greens and TWS’s own hardline position and propaganda on this issue has wedged them away from pragmatic solutions that are within immediate reach.  Their Tasmanian idyll, predicated on “gradually shifting most of the industry out of native forests into plantations” is environmental and economic nonsense.  We should not waste further public funds on pursuing that course. 

A possible solution lies in removing the legislated annual quota of sawlog production and legislating instead to increase the rotation period for working native forests.  If we need to fund this, introduce an MIS for native forests.  “A” pulp mill could well be part of the new mix of Tasmania’s forest industry.  But not the Gunns proposal.  The public will not tolerate allowing cheats to win. 

Let the roundtable clowns sit around their table if they wish, but it is beyond time to lock the doors and turn off the lights on their sad act.  The remaining viable players in the Tasmanian forestry industry should be allowed to get on with their work in line with normal market practice and not be held as hostages of Gunns and manipulative ENGO’s.

• Kim Booth:

‘It Still Stinks’ Postcards Addressed to Premier Increases Pressure to Abandon Pulp Mill
Kim Booth MP
Greens Forests spokesperson

The Tasmanian Greens today accepted over 800 postcards that had been addressed to the Premier by concerned community members to stop the Gunns’ Tamar Valley Pulp Mill from going ahead and polluting the Tamar Valley.

Greens Forests spokesperson Kim Booth MP said that this innovative form of demonstrating dissent is another example of the complete lack of social licence for the Gunns’ Tamar Valley Pulp Mill, and should be another wake up call for the Premier to support calls to put an end to the project.

Mr Booth also said that the petition via postcards’ campaign had been conducted by Greens Senator Christine Milne and local community members who collected the cards and then presented them to the Tasmanian Greens to bring to the Premier’s attention.

“Over 800 people sent a postcard to alert the Premier to just how strongly the community disapproves of this dirty pulp mill, which should act as a strong motivator to remove support for it,” Mr Booth said.

“Critical issues such as air quality, water capacity, effects on native forests and catchments, road safety and infrastructure damage were not assessed, and nor was there an independent risk assessment of any potential economic damage to other vital industries such as tourism, when this project was rammed through the Parliament in 2007.”

“The ongoing demonstration of community opposition, such as this postcard campaign, increases the pressure on Labor and Liberal MPs to vote for the Greens’ Bill to repeal the pulp mill.”

“The Greens’ Pulp Mill Amendment Repeal Bill will be debated Wednesday afternoon this week, with debate commencing at 4pm and the vote expected at 5:20pm.”

“Given the absence of independent assessment of critical areas, including marine and health impacts, the Premier should admit that this project should not proceed and act on that accordingly,” Mr Booth said.

Mr Booth will seek leave to table the postcards in Parliament during the adjournment debate on Tuesday, 24 May 2011.

• Christine Milne: The Postcard ...

Senator Christine Milne

Monday 23 May 2011

Gunns Pulp mill proposal ‘Still Stinks’

An anti-pulp mill postcard commissioned by Senator Christine Milne and distributed throughout the wider Tamar region has seen more than 800 Tasmanians calling on Premier Lara Giddings to abandon the environmentally destructive mill.

“This postcard says it in black and white; the Gunns pulp mill, from its corrupt approvals process to its impact on local residents and businesses, still stinks.

“Northern Tasmania has yet again told the Premier that they do not want the mill because it will seriously impact the Tamar economy and environment.

“I commissioned this postcard addressed to the Premier because Premier Lara Giddings needs to see the level of community outrage at the residents of the Tamar Valley being sold out because of a corrupted approvals process.

“These 800 Tasmanians are the tip of the iceberg. They deserve to be heard, and I hope their voice, combined with thousands of others who are attending anti-pulp mill rallies and protests throughout the state, will gain the attention of the Premier.

“Premier Giddings is wrong in saying that “the pulp mill is more than the icing on the cake, it is the cake”. If she believes the pulp mill is so environmentally friendly then why did she support taking away all appeal rights from residents who are adversely affected?

“If this mill stinks and pollutes the Tamar Valley with fugitive rotten egg gas emissions, as expected, perhaps the Premier can explain why its residents should be expected to suffer in silence.

“Tasmania needs to abandon its cargo cult mentality. Big polluting industries which damage our environment undermine our future and our attractiveness as an investment location for the clean industries that exist now in food and beverage production and tourism.

“I am happy to give the 815 postcards received to date to Greens Member for Bass, Kim Booth, who tomorrow will table them in parliament. Premier Giddings must now sit up and listen to the vehement opposition felt throughout the state,” Senator Milne said today.

• Dowload a PDF of the postcard:
Pulp_mill_card_DL8.pdf

First published: 2011-05-23 04:09 AM