Image for Gunns torpedoes Aprin, DED, Lara and sells to Wood/Cameron. Greenies blamed

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP will be available to respond to the breaking news that Gunns’ Triabunna Woodchip Mill has been sold to the Cameron/Woods Consortium. 

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• What Nick McKim says ...

Positive Investment in Future-Looking Transition
Nick McKim MP
Greens Leader

The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed the news that Gunns Ltd intends to sell its Triabunna woodchip mill to a consortium led by Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood, describing it as a game-changer for Tasmania’s economy and forests.

Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the news also boosted the chances of a successful outcome to the forest Statement of Principles process, with the onus now on state and Federal government to reach agreement in line with the Principles.

“This is a significant step forward in the economic transition that has been underway in Tasmania for some time, and will come to be seen as one of the most critical developments in the forest debate for decades,” Mr McKim said.

“This is a win for Tasmania’s forests, a win for the Forest Principles process, and a boost for Tasmania’s ongoing economic transition.”

“Congratulations to both Jan and Graeme who have made a bold investment in a bright new future for Tasmania.”

“Given to Ms Cameron’s commitment to operate the mill in accordance with the Forest Principles Agreement it is now even more important that the State and Federal governments can reach agreement.”

“The Greens’ position on the Aprin loan has now been completely vindicated, and we would expect that any government loan to Aprin will now not proceed.”

“In the bad old days of majority government, the first Tasmanians would have learned about a government loan to Aprin would have been an announcement that the loan would proceed.”

“Whilst no doubt this news will come as a shock to the people of Triabunna, in time Triabunna can, like Strahan, revitalise and broaden its economic base,” Mr McKim said.

• What Lara and Bryan say ...

Lara Giddings, Premier and Bryan Green, Deputy Premier: Triabunna Woodchip Mill, Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Tasmanian Government is seeking assurances that the Triabunna Woodchip Mill will continue operating, with the news today of the mill’s sale to Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood.
The Premier, Lara Giddings, and Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, said they had contacted Ms Cameron, with the aim to meet as soon as possible to emphasise the mill’s importance to Tasmania’s southern timber industry.

“The Government was supportive of attempts by the family-owned company Aprin to take over the facility through a legitimate and proper process, but the ultimate decision on who purchased the mill was a matter for Gunns,” Ms Giddings said.

“The Triabunna mill is a vitally important asset to the forest industry and we want to ensure it continues operating.

“We fully understand the fears of the families and communities whose livelihoods depend on the mill’s continued operation, and will be seeking to represent their interests in any discussions with the new owners.”

Mr Green said the importance of the mill was reinforced by the recently-released position paper from the Statement of Principles Facilitator, Mr Bill Kelty.

“One of this Government’s key priorities is to ensure we have a sustainable timber industry into the future, and the Triabunna mill is a vitally important asset to the industry,” he said.

“Ms Cameron and Mr Wood have previously indicated a willingness to continue to operate the facility as a mill in accordance with the Statement of Principles.

“The State Government is continuing to progress the Statement of Principles through ongoing discussions with the Commonwealth.

“The strategic importance of the Triabunna mill – particularly for the timber industry in southern Tasmania – cannot be underestimated.”

• Meanwhile ..

Conservation group Still Wild Still Threatened expresses outrage at Forestry Tasmania controversial new three year plan..

Today members of the group Still Wild Still Threatened have expressed outrage over Forestry Tasmania’s release of the first year of their three year wood harvesting plan. The plan includes new roading into iconic high conservation areas including the Upper Florentine and Styx valleys despite these areas being earmarked for National Park protection under the new agreement.

“The three year plan demonstrates that Forestry Tasmania is living in the past with a ‘business as usual’ mantra playing on repeat. Why put new roads into controversial areas like the Upper Florentine when those places have been earmarked for protection?” said Still Wild Still Threatened spokesperson, Lily Leahy.

“The state government failed to protect these iconic forests under moratorium and now further government in-action will see more high conservation value forest lost forever. Still Wild Still Threatened fauna surveys have found evidence of iconic native species including the endangered Tasmanian Devil and the Spotted Tail Quoll in logging coupes on this list in the Styx, Upper Florentine and the Counsel valleys, further demonstrating their importance as wildlife habitat.” said Ms Leahy.

“There are dedicated campaigners on the ground at the long running Upper Florentine camp, protecting the valley from further destruction. Those campaigners will continue to stand strong with broad scale community support if the machines roll into the valley in the coming months.” said Ms Leahy.

“We are calling on the government to take action immediately to protect the full high conservation value reserve of 572 000 ha and fund a transition to a sustainable industry out of native forests. Tasmanians have waited too long in this drawn out process while our world heritage value forests are lost.” said Ms Leahy.

• And ...

Bunnings tipped for Gunns Lindsay Street site
13 Jul, 2011 08:17 AM
FORESTRY company Gunns is close to selling its Launceston Lindsay Street site to national hardware retailer Bunnings.

Gunns managing director Greg L’Estrange told staff on Monday that the there was a firm offer for the site.

It is understood that there have been negotiations for some time.

The entire 5.2-hectares on the former Ogilvie Park sports grounds - which incorporates the company’s corporate headquarters - will be included in the sale.

Mr L’Estrange has refused to comment on when the administrative base would move or how long he would remain at the head of the company.

But he has confirmed several times in recent months that everything, including the Lindsay Street headquarters, was on the table as Gunns sells assets to raise money for the pulp mill.

Gunns will take more than 12 months to move from Lindsay Street, which includes kiln- drying facilities and thousands of racks of timber.

One option for its administration base would be the proposed pulp mill site at Bell Bay, if the $2.3 billion project goes ahead.

Examiner HERE

THURSDAY, Aprin: Guts ripped out ... It’s all the greenies’ fault

ABC Online: Rival company’s ‘guts ripped out’ over mill sale

The company which was bidding for Gunns’ Triabunna woodchip mill on Tasmania’s east coast is in shock that it has been bought by tourism entrepreneurs.

Private company Aprin says it was ready to give Gunns $16 million for the mill on Friday.

Gunns has accepted the $10 million bid by entrepreneurs Graeme Wood and Jan Cameron.

Aprin co-owner Ron O’Connor says the sale to the tourism consortium will spell the end of the forest industry in Tasmania.

Mr O’Connor say Gunns’ chief executive Greg L’Estrange left a message on his mobile phone to say time had run out.

But Mr O’Connor says they had the money ready to go for Friday, a deadline Gunns and Aprin had agreed to and confirmed as late as Monday.

“That just ripped me guts out, ripped me up bad,” he said.

“I think there’s something funny going on here. We were doing this for our families and all our friends that are loggers.

“Our industry is dead without the mill, we are dead and finished.

“We had till Friday to come up with the money, which was fine. Then we get the phone call this morning. There’s nothing what I say or do to express how I feel.”

Mr O’Connor says Australia’s major banks are not interested in lending to companies working in Tasmania’s native forests.

He blames the Greens for his company’s failure to secure the deal.

“You’ve got the Greens, Milne and Christine in Parliament and Booth all having a go at us,” he said.

“A lot of the four major banks are shhh, I better not swear, are very scared of their image, public perception.”

Gunns has confirmed the sale on the stock exchange.

In a statement, Gunns says the terms of the deal, subject to the forestry statement of principles, allows for the mill to be leased to an industrial operator as a woodchip export business.

It is a condition of Tasmania’s interim peace deal that the mill stays in the industry.

The forestry sector has pleaded for the Triabunna woodchip mill to stay open.

Barry Chipman from Timber Communities Australia says if the mill closes, the timber industry and Triabunna will be crushed.

Read the rest, ABC Online HERE