Dr Frank Nicklason

DAMON Thomas of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a great advocate for the Gunns pulp mill and the big players in general in the forest industry. He does not appear as interested in the welfare of those many commercial interests which will be adversely affected by the project.

DAMON Thomas of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a great advocate for the Gunns pulp mill and the big players in general in the forest industry.

He does not appear as interested in the welfare of those many commercial interests which will be adversely affected by the project.

I declare a conflict of interest: I grew up in the far North East of Tasmania (Blue Tier country) and I was horrified to hear John Gay publicly state that it is his intention to “convert the native forests of the North East to plantation” (for the benefit of his pulpmill project).

Plantations of rapidly growing eucalypt species are rapidly replacing the mixed wet forests as well as the rich agricultural soils in this region. There is precious little employment associated with the establishment, maintenance or harvesting of plantations and there are many well documented problems for farmers, winegrowers, leatherwood honey producers, tourism operators and aquaculture businesses well as many traditional smaller operators in the timber industry.

Mr Thomas does not mention the clear and repeated (science based) warnings by Dr David Leaman of the disastrous effects of plantations on water yield nor the warnings of health professionals and local citizens concerned about the aerial spraying of dangerous chemicals used in plantation forestry.

As has been expressed by pulp mill expert Robert Eastment, it is essential that the many concerns about the operations of the mill and the sourcing of pulpwood are fully and openly addressed so that the community can have confidence that this project, which has already used much taxpayer money in it’s promotion, will really benefit the Tasmanian population as a whole and not just a few favoured individuals.

A wonderful old lady who lived all her life in the North East made this statement of qualified support for the pulp mill “as long as it won’t harm the birds or fish”.

Wise words.

Dr Frank Nicklason
West Hobart

Earlier: Mr Thomas, who never replies