Image for Gunns: Do they deserve public funds?

Ed: Tasmanian Times received these emails from an anonymous source yesterday. They purport to be internal Gunns emails. They have been carefully checked with experts for veracity. They raise a number of serious questions which are in the public interest, not least in relation to the authority of the RPDC…  Gunns Ltd has been approached for comment on two of the emails relating to site choice - and as is always the case on Tasmanian Times a right of reply, response, or fair comment has been offered. None (in five hours), apart from dismissive comments from media expert Gunns’ spinner (Matthew Horan, Cato Counsel*)  has been received.

The questions raised are important in the context of what will hopefully be a full inquiry into the project and the parliamentarians who approved it, despite it being judged critically non-compliant.

Site justification

1. Emails numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4 relate to the site selection process.




Is it the case that no detailed site assessment was ever undertaken to justify the selection of the Tamar Valley?


Why did Gunns engage a global public relations company to advise on technical components of the required assessments? ( EmailX_1.pdf )

Is it the case that the only justification for choosing the Tamar Valley over Hampshire was the 1991 Jaakko Poyry report that Les Baker mentions? ( EmailX_2.pdf )

Why was Les Baker so concerned about using existing information on the air quality around George Town. Les states: “I would not want to be relying on this data to justify the decision making process as it will allow every identified potential impact to be dragged into the assessment” ( Email_3.pdf )

Air quality and human health

Emails numbered 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13










Email_7.pdf appears to suggest that the ‘health assessment’ was undertaken over a period of 2 weeks. Is this the case?

Why was Les Baker so insistent upon removing any reference to ‘dioxins’ within any reports?  ( email_9.pdf

email_10.pdf )

Is it really the case that the air shed study was based upon 3 months of actual raw data?  ( Email_7.pdf )

Why was there such a strong insistence that contour plots be removed from the air shed impact study?


Email_13.pdf indicate that it was not possible to meet the State guidelines for NoX emissions. Is it the case that these non-compliant emissions levels could be argued through considering the emissions from the pulp facility as distinct from the electricity production facility?

Did our State Government representatives really approve a project that was clearly unable to meet their own standards for human health impacts and never went through a site selection process?

*The last correspondence from Matthew: Also, a quick archive search would have shown you that (a) the story is six months old, and, (b) the claims were debunked by Gunns’ IIS.

First published: 2011-09-12 05:40 PM

On Tasmanian Times:
These emails are genuine
Emails: Gunns’ dismissive response