Image for Rolley laments Gunns mill blunder

FORMER Forestry Tasmania boss Evan Rolley believes Gunns would have had a better chance at building a pulp mill if it had sought a Japanese partner.

Mr Rolley said Gunns lost Japanese clients as soon as then-chairman John Gay announced plans for a mill, which would have allowed the company to process timber in Tasmania.

“Gay announces ‘we’ll build a pulp mill’ and the Japanese industry who purchased woodchips for 30 years, hearing that he’s going to process most of the wood available on the island, go and look for alternate suppliers in South-East Asia, South Africa, South America,” Mr Rolley said. “Is it surprising that happened? No.

Mr Rolley, who now heads timber veneer producer Ta Ann, made the comments to TasWeekend in relation to Denison independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie’s calls for a royal commission to be held into FT’s finances and public subsidies.

Mr Rolley said Mr Wilkie did not contact him before tabling a document ( You can access the tabled document through this link, HERE ... and read for yourself ) in Federal Parliament critical of Mr Rolley’s management of FT, written by Chudleigh antiques dealer and political aspirant John Hawkins.

“I’m surprised [Mr Wilkie] would use the protection and privilege of Parliament to table documents that make personal criticisms that are factually incorrect about me,” Mr Rolley said.

Read the full story, Mercury, here (comments have been disallowed on the Mercury story ...)

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times ...

Malaysian corruption scandal

Forestry Tasmania , Andrew Wilkie MP and the tabled document ...

Ta Ann Tasmania: Just like Google ...

• Pete Godfrey in Comments: I would have been very surprised if Mr Rolley had agreed with John Hawkins’ submission to parliament. It would be very interesting if he would write a TT article explaining where John got it wrong. The Mercury article says very little, a few refutations would go down well in the name of balance.

• Ted Mead in Comments: Fact Evan - Around 10 years ago the Japanese came to Australia and stated that the future world markets, and their clients, are demanding woodchips from sustainable or FSC sources. Forestry Tasmania ignored the Japanese requests and subsequently the Gunns export market dried up. The rest is history. Prior to that Gunns were gobbling up our native forests at an alarming rate, and the more they processed and exported, the greater financial loss was to FT because of the subsidised industry. A Pulp Mill would have made no difference, and the Japanese respectfully would have expressed little interest in such an investment unless there was a guarantee it was solely FSC plantation based. FT was already losing money, and their reliance on Gunns was very poor management of a finite resource. Nothing has changed since Ta Ann has arrived in the state!

• Editor: Mr Rolley is always welcome to write an article or comment at whatever length ... putting his side of this story ...

• Jack Lumber in Comments: Way before pulpwood, and during the expansion of the sector, FC and FT failed to seek fair value for its sawlogs and veneers. Yes .... It was encumbered by concessions and EFP licences for a time and yes they where hamstrung by govt as successive govt - both federal and state - meddled in policy etc etc ... BUT in 1994 it, the new FT had the chance to seek fair rent for products and, time and time again, instead it offered honeymoon periods for veneer mills and sawmill and anyone else which, time and time again then said “we can’t make it work “. Sound familiar. So what does FT do? Get into infrastructure and so ... The new wood saga starts and we have FT paying for power to sites, a merchandising yard which was used by engineers to practice and try theories on. We used to take people there for a example of what NOT to do. We can debate the silviculture, the segregation till the cows come home but let’s agree we should have fair rent or at least transparency in same. The chances of a Japanese JV partner was nil and someone should know better than to throw out that sort of “BS”, the Japanese didn’t like it in 89 or in 2005. After meeting in Australia and Japan they would ask why and how, not can we have some involvement? But the mill as a concept can work ... let’s be clear

• Russell Langfield in Comments: ”“I’m surprised [Mr Wilkie] would use the protection and privilege of Parliament to table documents that make personal criticisms that are factually incorrect about me,” Mr Rolley said.” Well Mr Rolley, you have the opportunity here to correct the facts ...

• John Hawkins in Comments: Rolley, I am far from a political aspirant. I do have an internationally acclaimed business created over 50 years in which time I have written five books and nearly 100 cutting edge articles. As an aside we do miss Sue Neales - you are lucky that Sally Glaetzer gave you such an easy ride, backed by the Editor with no comments allowed. I stood once as a protest against Greg Hall who was to be elected unopposed to the Upper House of the Tasmanian Parliament. You can rest safe, I have no intention of ever standing again. My investigations into your affairs as tabled ... ... are well referenced and fully documented. What have I said that is factually incorrect? I will debate you in any public forum of your choice in Tasmania. I have no agenda, nothing to hide and I am a member of no political party. Put pen to paper and tell us all how you have been defamed by my reply to your prior legal threats to Mr Tuffin, Tas Times and myself as tabled in Parliament by Mr Wilkie. I am willing to defend myself and my reputation through the courts should you continue ... The threat of defamation if executed will give me the opportunity over “discovery” to investigate you and your past in more detail. I am not afraid Sir. (reviewed, edited)

ABC: Native wood waste hoped to fire up Tasmanian energy industry as environmentalists oppose biomass as renewable energy An energy industry powered by native wood waste is hoped to finally fire up in Tasmania, now that it is considered a renewable energy source by the Federal Government. Last month the Senate passed a bill to include native forest biomass in the revised Renewable Energy Target (RET). Pavel Ruzicka, who sits on the Resources Minister’s Special Advisory Council, said it was fantastic news given Tasmania produced millions of tonnes of native wood residues every year. … Environmentalists are completely opposed to the idea of biomass and have firmly rejected the suggestion it was a renewable energy source.Peg Putt from the organisation Markets for Change said biomass not only destroyed precious eco-systems but harmed the climate at the same time. She said its inclusion in the RET was deeply concerning. “It could well turn out to be the new woodchipping — a high-volume, low-value industry that is subsidised by the taxpayer and that keeps logging going in contentious native forests that ought to be protected,” she said. … The then Labor state government and Forestry Tasmania, then led by Evan Rolley, planned to build a 30-megawatt biomass plant in the Huon Valley. Mr Rolley is now the executive director of Ta Ann, which has a veneer mill on the industrial site where the power station was proposed. He said the company was not considering a biomass power plant at this stage, but environmentalists are nervous. Bob Brown Foundation spokeswoman Jenny Weber said there was nothing stopping a wood-fired power station being built at Southwood. “There is the approvals for a very large power station there,” she said.