Simon Bevilacqua

A TAX ruling threatens to sink Gunns Ltd’s proposed $1.4 billion pulp mill. A federal proposal to reduce tax breaks for plantation investors could stop Tasmania growing enough trees to feed the mill.
The pulp mill hinges on contentious tax rules, now being reviewed by the Australian Treasury. Tax breaks for investors in managed investment schemes have attracted billions into plantations.

The State Government says Gunns’ Tamar Valley mill and the $130 million Huon Valley Southwood project depend on the investment-scheme funds continuing — to pay for a further 50,000 hectares of plantations. But there is growing anger in rural communities that the tax breaks are helping destroy traditional farms, families and communities. A powerful push to axe tax breaks for plantation investors is coming from McCain Australia, National Farmers Federation, Australian Sugar Milling Council, NSW Farmers Association, South Australian Farmers Federation, WA Pastoralists and Graziers Association and many agricultural economists and consultants.

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Plague of plantations
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