Image for Residents refuse Gunns a social licence!

As planned, a public meeting for residents of Rowella, Sidmouth, Kayena and Deviot to present their views and concerns primarily about the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley to their invited (reference 1) elected political representatives, was held at the Rowella Hall on Friday the 25th of February. 

On a pleasant Tamar evening in a hall with standing room only, residents from Rowella, Sidmouth, Kayena, Deviot and the wider West Tamar area attended, wishing to convey the stress and hurt of six years of indecision, to demand answers and to listen to our representatives responses and how these Lyons politicians could assist.

Out of the 19 democratically elected representatives - JUST ONE turned up.

• No one else but Tim Morris attended – thank you Tim, you were well received and provided clear answers and background which were to the point and believable.
• Seven elected representatives advised me that they had firm prior engagements, they were in Canberra or that some one else would be speaking for them. These were Bob Brown, Christine Milne, Kerry O’Brien, Kerry Finch, Mark Shelton, Michael Polly and Rene Hiddings.
• A further five representatives responded to the invitation with comments like – unable to attend – no – will not be attending. These were Carol Brown, Richard Collbeck, Eric Abetz, Dick Adams and Rebecca White.
• A further six representatives provided no response at all. These were Guy Barnett, Catryna Bilyk, David Bushby, Stephan Parry, Helen Polly and Nick Sherry.

Be aware that this meeting originally planned for early December, was subsequently deferred until February to allow these politicians more time as only Tim Morris was available then.

I understand that these are busy people. I understand that out of 19 representatives some would have prior engagements. But having been invited twice you would think that they would make an effort. Six provided no response at all; five just said that they were unable to attend. Besides Tim Morris the only other politician to show any interest was Kerry Finch who has asked for a separate meeting and a briefing. That’s 11 out of 19 – no dialogue, no comments or any suggestion of another date or separate meeting – no interest at all. I suggest that you show NO interest in them at election time.

For me, the reason that they will not front the residents of Rowella, Kayena, Sidmouth and Deviot is simply that they would be unable to answer residents’ questions and concerns honestly.

They can only defend the proposed pulp mill process, the standard of governance of the Labor Government the lack of genuine opposition by the Liberal Party, the Forest Round Table etc, by reiterating their party mantras in which they are well versed. They know about the web of covert support and flagrant lies that are an integral part of the last six years. They use the excuse of “jobs” and weasel words like “world’s best practice”, “line in the sand”, and “moving forward” which are indefensible in front of a packed hall of well informed residents who remain angry, stressed and hurt by the process and continuation of this six year old proposed “critically non-compliant” project.

The meeting started with an introduction, followed by two residents who presented specific concerns with certain aspects of the proposed Pulp Mill and the need for new laws regarding odour, air quality and monitoring. Residents proceeded to question Tim Morris who responded in a factual, reasoned and open manner, occasionally defending his own and the Greens’ position concerning the proposed pulp mill and the Greens’ position and balance of power in our Parliament. In fact he assured residents that he would be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder at the barricade should this mill proceed.

Questions concerning water, forestry, Julia Gillard, Federal politics, health and stress issues in the community now and in the future, media coverage of the issue, residents’ rights, the wood supply agreement, EPA, air quality in the Tamar Valley, odour control, overseas and mainland mills, Gunns viability, Gunns debt, timing and the meaning of a “substantial” start to the proposed project and much more were aired. Residents also highlighted how the continuation of the proposed project was adversely affecting them and their families. They discussed the impact and lost business opportunities but also a positive vision for the future of the Tamar Valley without the ongoing threat of this monstrous proposed pulp mill.

Tim Morris was well received, shown every respect and thanked by the residents.

The meeting agreed the following:

1. A motion was moved, seconded and unanimously passed by all the 100 residents in attendance that:      “This meeting of West Tamar residents refuses to grant Gunns Ltd a social licence to build or operate its proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley.”
2. A summary of the meeting, including condemnation of our elected representatives who did not attend, would be sent to the media and other interested groups.
3. Further meeting (s), hopefully with our elected representatives will be progressed so that residents can ask questions, raise concerns and express how the stress and hurt caused by the continuation of this proposed pulp mill project is adversely affecting them, their families and their businesses.
4. That this group of residents will form a West Tamar residents group to progress this and related issues.
5. That a further residents meeting will be held within a month.

The meeting closed at 10.15PM.

Published by John Day for the residents of Rowella, Kayena, Sidmouth, Deviot and the wider West Tamar community.

Reference 1 - see http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/upm-we-are-not-engaged-in-negotiations-with-gunns/ article - UPM: We are not engaged in negotiations’/ TAP: Don’t miss it. Politicians to listen to you on the pulp mill!

Earlier on Tasmanian Times: Karl Stevens: Rowella Votes No Social License For Gunns

All that we are fighting for:

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Dr Warwick Raverty’s Letter to the Examiner Editor
Dear Sir,
Re “Pulp mill works” – letters to the Editor, 26th February

In his letter under the heading ‘Pulp mill works’, Mr Millar of Hillwood has shot the pro-mill case well and truly in the foot. Yes Graz has a pulp mill at Gratkorn, 10 km from the centre of town. A little additional research on the web would have informed Mr Millar that the SAPPI Gratkorn Mill is NOT A KRAFT MILL. Gratkorn Mill is a magnefite acid sulfite mill that uses a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT set of chemicals, lacking any smelly sulfides, to produce bleached sulfite pulp at 23% of the scale of Gunns’ proposal. The Gratkorn Mill thus produces NO FOUL GAS EMISSIONS and, significantly, is also able to use TOTALLY CHLORINE FREE bleaching to whiten its sulfite pulp. Being operated by SAPPI, one of the most experienced and environmentally conscious, FSC certified pulp and paper companies in the world, the effluent treatment system is able to treat the dioxin-free and AOX-free mill effluent to a standard where it can be discharged into the Mur River under EPA licence. Mr Millar did not have to travel to Austria to find a magnefite mill – there is a smaller one at Tantanoola, near Millicent, South Australia, operated by Kimberley Clark that The Company put up for sale in the last month. Like Graz, Millicent has no odour problems. Unfortunately bleached magnefite pulp is not as strong as kraft pulp and SAPPI has to import around 600,000 tonnes per year of bleached kraft pulp into order to supplement the 255,000 tonnes of weaker sulfite pulp made at Gratkorn to make 920,000 tonnes of strong coated printing papers each year.

Significantly for Tamar residents, the city of GRAZ IS ALSO HEADQUARTERS FOR ANDRITZ AG, the company that Gunns proposes to use for supply of its major items of kraft pulping equipment. With Andritz ‘next door’ in Graz so to speak, one might expect SAPPI to have adopted Andritz’s kraft pulping technology for Gratkorn as part of the many upgrades it has made to the mill in recent years. SAPPI HAVE NOT CHANGED TO KRAFT BECAUSE IT WOULD RUIN THE TOURISM AND HERITAGE VALUES ON WHICH GRAZ RELIES because of the fugitive foul gas odour and it would also make the effluent impossible to treat to a standard where the Austrian EPA would allow discharge into the Mur River. IN FACT NONE OF SAPPI’s chemical pulp mills in Germany and Austria USE KRAFT PULPING AND ECF BLEACHING - they ALL use the acid sulfite process and TCF bleaching. It is high time that the Tasmanian Government admits its mistakes and reverts to ethical standards. There have been significant changes in pulping technology since 2007 and the PMAA must be revoked and Gunns’ proposal re-submitted to independent, detailed expert scrutiny rather than to a compromised consultant like Sweco Pic, that relies on Andritz for a significant part of its income.

Dr Warwick Raverty, Clayton South, VIC

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
  - John Kenneth Galbraith