WAR is being declared on discount chain Chickenfeed by growing numbers of angry timber workers and their supporters.
The brother of North-West heavy equipment magnate Dale Elphinstone is leading the charge against environmentalist Chickenfeed owner Jan Cameron and hotel booking company Wotif’s like- minded founder, Graeme Wood.
“I strongly urge you and your families to avoid shopping at Chickenfeed stores and to boycott the use of Wotif to book anything,” Triabunna- based businessman Graeme Elphinstone writes in an email which is going viral among timber folk and has gone to MLCs.
“The owners of these two businesses are supporters and financiers of shutting down the livelihoods of many Tasmanians.
“These same millionaires who are supporting these cult people might just find they have stood on the toes of their very own customers.”
Comment was being sought from Ms Cameron.
It follows Ms Cameron and Mr Wood buying the now mothballed woodchip mill at Triabunna and ongoing forest industry turmoil.
Mr Elphinstone said he wrote to Ms Cameron on June 14 requesting a meeting and had not heard back.
He said he had had enough of how the state was going.
“It’s criminal what is being done to it.”
In his letter to Ms Cameron, the former Highclere farm boy said: “Your businesses do not create primary jobs in Australia.
“I have no issue with you making profit for yourself.
“However, I do have a problem using your profits to ruin a good, sustainable future for other Tasmanians and doing away with long-term primary jobs.”
• Nick Clark, Mercury: Gunns compo stand-off
TIMBER company Gunns Limited is believed to have rejected a multi-million dollar State Government compensation offer for ending its logging in native forests.
The embattled company had until 5pm yesterday to respond to the Government’s offer under the controversial Intergovernmental Agreement.
Gunns spokesman Matt Horan would not comment on the decision last night.
A spokesman for Premier Lara Giddings would also not comment on the process.
There was speculation last night that Gunns would meet its major shareholders on Monday to explain its position.
Gunns told the Australian stock market this week that it would tell the Government of its position by yesterday.
The Government’s offer was originally up to $23 million but had a $25 million debt Gunns owes Forestry Tasmania subtracted from it.
Gunns and Forestry Tasmania are locked in a bitter stand-off because Gunns disputes the debt.
Shares in Gunns have been suspended for a month while it awaits the completion of the Intergovernmental Agreement.
Last week it reported the state’s biggest corporate loss of $355 million.
This was despite a big sell off of assets as the company desperately tries to slash debt as it tries to find a partner to help finance its pulp mill project near Launceston.
Two of Gunns’ biggest shareholders, Perpetual Trustees and Invesco Australia, have reduced their holdings in the past month.
The debt-laden company had been expecting up to $100 million from the compensation deal until the Government appointed a probity auditor to decide on Gunns’ entitlement. Gunns has said many times that a satisfactory outcome to the forests agreement is critical to the ability to attract a joint-venture partner for the $2.3 billion pulp mill project.
• The slightly different ABC take:
Gunns misses deadline to accept financial offer
Posted September 03, 2011 11:46:10
The future of the Tasmanian timber company Gunns remains in limbo, with no word on whether it has accepted the State Government’s offer for giving up its native forest contracts.
The Government made the offer last Friday as part of the $276 million forest agreement to end logging in most public native forests.
The Premier Lara Giddings has already indicated the maximum amount Gunns could receive is $23 million.
The company had hoped to announce its decision to the stock exchange by yesterday, but there has been no word.
Financial analyst Matthew Torenius says the market can expect an announcement before it opens on Monday.