Image for Draw a line under the pulp mill, says Milne  ... as Gunns awards earthworks contract ...

The announcement by Gunns of a $355.5 million loss, and the Prime Minister’s welcome comment that the pulp mill’s future is now a ‘commercial question’, should mark the end of the line for the Gunns pulp mill and the opening of a new, cleaner,  jobs-rich future for Tasmania.

“If we can now draw a line under heavily subsidised logging of native forests and uncommercial pulp mill proposals, Tasmania can finally face the future with confidence,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

“It’s time for the company to state clearly that ‘substantial’ work will not be commenced by the end of the month and that the project is over.

“The Tamar Valley has been dogged by this proposal for the last seven years, and the whole of Tasmania has been divided in the mess of inappropriate government intervention, dubious claims, corrupt processes and delay after delay.

“The exit from native forest logging and the demise of the Gunns pulp mill should mark the beginning of a new era and a new vision for Tasmania, where we can at last make authentic the claim that Tasmania is clean, green and clever.

“I congratulate all the campaigners state-wide and in the local community who have refused to see this pulp mill ever built in the Tamar Valley and who have worked so hard and so courageously for such a long time for this positive outcome.”

• ... as Gunns awards bulk earthworks contract ...

Gunns has awarded the contract for bulk earthworks at its Bell Bay pulp mill site to a Tasmanian joint-venture.

The contract has been awarded to John Holland and Hazell Bros, which has a combined workforce of more than 500 in Tasmania.

Gunns managing director Greg L’Estrange said the joint venture won the contract against a strong field of local and interstate suppliers.

“What the tender process showed was that Tasmanian companies are smart in how they play to their strengths and build alliances to provide highly competitive bids for what is a significant local contract,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“The bulk earthworks are clearly substantial progress towards bringing the mill to reality, and Gunns will do it with a team using local expertise.”

Mr L’Estrange said that the bulk earthworks will advance the access road construction and site clearing, which Gunns completed last year, by resurfacing the site and laying the platform for the mill processing plant.

He said works are expected to take seven months to complete.

According to Mr L’Estrange, the company has spent more than $200 million on the mill to date ...

Examiner HERE

• What Gunns says ...

GUNNS LETS CONTRACT FOR PULP MILL WORKS

Integrated forestry company Gunns Limited today announced it had awarded a contract to begin bulk earthworks for the Bell Bay pulp mill project.

The contract was awarded to a Tasmanian joint-venture between John Holland and Hazell Bros.

Gunns’ Managing Director, Mr Greg L’Estrange, said the John Holland-Hazell Bros joint venture, which has a combined workforce of over 500 in Tasmania, won the contract against a strong field of local and interstate suppliers.

“What the tender process showed was that Tasmanian companies are smart in how they play to their strengths and build alliances to provide highly competitive bids for what is a significant local contract,” Mr L’Estrange said.

“The bulk earthworks are clearly substantial progress towards bringing the mill to reality, and Gunns will do it with a team using local expertise,” he said.

Gunns has spent more than $200 million on the mill to date, including the approval process, roading and vegetation clearing, management plan preparation and monitoring and on major materials and equipment, such as turbines and generators awaiting installation.

The bulk earthworks will advance the access road construction and site clearing, which Gunns completed last year, by resurfacing the site and laying the platform for the mill processing plant. Works are expected to take seven months to complete.

Mr L’Estrange said that the pulp mill project was a very significant project for Tasmania and the northern region of Tasmania, in particular.

“Over time, the pulp mill will bring and keep 3,100 full-time jobs to Tasmania, which is 12 times the direct employment of the mill, and 2,600 of those jobs are expected to be in the local area,” he said.

“There is no other project on the horizon that can deliver that level of opportunity for Tasmanians, and Gunns is fully committed to working at a local level to ensure that those benefits are real.”

From Gunnsblog, HERE

• Senator Richard Colbeck: Forest deal sinks Tasmanian wooden boat building

SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
25 August 2011
     
Forest deal sinks Tasmanian wooden boat building

The future of Tasmania’s valuable wooden boat building industry is directly threatened by the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on future use of Tasmania’s forests.

“Locking up the remaining sources of timber used by Tasmania’s wooden boat builders will destroy what is currently a very valuable, viable and iconic industry,” Coalition Forestry Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said.

“Details of the sham agreement are spreading far and wide and I am now being contacted by boat builders who fear Tasmania’s wooden boat building industry will be ruined.

“Discussion on the impending disaster for the sector has global reach through industry blogs.

“Despite the fact that 90 per cent of two key iconic species, Celery Top Pine and King Bill Pine, are already in reserves the Greens are still not satisfied.

“More than 70 per cent of remaining sources of these timbers are in the 430,000 hectares rubber stamped by former Wilderness Society director Jonathan West in his flimsy advice accepted by the Prime Minister and the Premier last week.

“And 94 per cent of remaining sources are in the 572,000 hectares that the environment groups claim as High Conservation Value.

“The wooden boat industry has an estimated annual value of $50 million but without a timber supply it has no future.

“Destroying Tasmania’s wooden boat building industry also undermines the legitimacy of hosting the highly successful Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart, which is one of the largest festivals of its type in the world.

“This festival began in 1994 and attracted 100,000 people last year. Given building these boats can take up to 12 months, providing significant employment opportunities for master craftsmen, the significance of the economic contribution of wooden boats is clear.

“What will it mean for this internationally-recognised event if Tasmania’s iconic wooden boat building industry is destroyed?

“The Greens tell us tourism is the future for Tasmania but its own greedy and clumsy policy seeks to lock the tourism industry out of areas currently open and it also threatens to impact major tourist events like the Wooden Boat Festival.

Tasmanian woodwork blog: http://www.woodworkforums.com/f34/tasmanian-boat-building-timber-availability-139466/

And,

Labor MPs are as dud as the forestry deal

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is deluded if she believes her Tasmanian Labor MPs are “great advocates” for their local communities, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck said.

Ms Gillard made the ludicrous comments while speaking about the Tasmanian forestry deal on ABC Radio this morning.

“Ms Gillard must be deluded,” Senator Colbeck said.

“The four Labor MPs have been at arms length and deathly silent throughout this entire process, from the initial negotiations right through to the current debacle threatening to gut the Tasmanian forest industry.

“Labor’s four MPs have resoundingly failed to stand up for Tasmania’s forest communities, and have deliberately dodged the issue.

“Where were Sid Sidebottom and Geoff Lyons when 1000 people turned out in Smithton last Sunday? And where were Julie Collins and Dick Adams when 2000 people rallied on the lawns of Parliament House on Saturday?

“The sad truth is these four Labor MPs are actually very poor advocates for their communities, despite Ms Gillard’s endorsement.

“If Tasmania’s Labor MPs cared about this State’s future and understood the threats being posed to future forestry activities, they would be lobbying the Prime Minister to tear up this deal.

“Unlike the Labor MPs, Liberal representatives at both State and Federal levels can see this is a bad deal for Tasmania and that it should be torn up immediately.

“The promise was peace in the forests and a sustainable future industry but the Intergovernmental Agreement fails to deliver either outcome. This deal is a dud, and so are these Labor MPs.” Senator Colbeck said.

Karl, HERE