Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Wood deal: outrageous and irresponsible

Paul Oosting Wilderness Society MR, 26Feb: Wood supply deal for Gunns’ pulp mill irresponsible

Tasmania locked into 20 years of greenhouse gas pollution before Garnaut reports

THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY has labelled today’s announcement of a 20-year deal to supply Tasmania’s native forests to Gunns pulp mill as outrageous and irresponsible. The wood supply will intensify logging, increase pressure on endangered species and water catchments, and is particularly irresponsible considering that the Garnaut study recently commissioned to investigate the logging industry’s impact on climate change has yet to report back.

“Premier Paul Lennon is himself unsure of the climate impact logging in Tasmania is having, but with Forestry Tasmania signing this agreement Tasmania is now locked in to the logging of native forests for the next 20 years,” said Mr Paul Oosting Pulp Mill Campaigner for The Wilderness Society.

“It is a tragedy for Tasmania’s environment and economy that the Premier has sought to pre-empt the findings of the Garnaut Review by rushing ahead with the signing of this deal, before he gets a report back from the inquiry he commissioned.”

“This wood supply agreement completely ignores the issue of climate change. It ignores the scientists and it ignores the economists who are saying that native forests are best protected as carbon sinks to combat climate change.”

“The Lennon government is offloading Tasmanian’s native forests for Gunns’ for as little as $15 per tonne. Conservative estimates of the cost of carbon that are being looked at for carbon trading schemes have been a minimum of $20 per tonne. Logically, instead of locking in a deal of destruction, it would be more lucrative for Tasmania to protect our forest as carbon sinks, and reap the benefits for biodiversity, water catchments and community cohesion,” said Mr Oosting.

“Premier Lennon has shown his true colours on climate change. He has rushed through a 20-year deal for Gunns and ignored the science and the economic realities.”

The Wilderness Society called Federal Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Gunns’ banker the ANZ bank, to explain who would now bear the cost of greenhouse gas pollution that would result from logging to feed the pulp mill. No climate change assessment has been done in any of the formal, fast track assessments of the pulp mill.

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  1. don davey

    March 1, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    your statement reminds of the following, an engineer died and the guy at the pearly gates reckoned they were full and that he should stay at the other place until there was
    room, upshot is they forgot him and after 12 months a check of the books revealed where he was so God rings up lucifer and say,s “did you recieve an engineer about 12 months ago?

    “yeah ! (say’s the dark one} thanks for that hell! we got air con, an elevator, christ knows what he will come up with next”

    “well there was amistake made and we want him back or we’ll sue your arse !”

    Yeah right ! Heh, heh, and just where the F—K are you gonna find a lawyer ?

    boom, boom !

  2. phill Parsons

    February 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Aa s rule of thumb allow some 0.5t CO2 per tonne of wood removed from the forest and used in short term products such as paper that is not recycled.

    Not all of this CO2 is recaptured by the regrowth as much of the carbon is from long term storage and short term rotations will not capture that carbon for a sufficient time to have an impact on the contributiuon to climate instability by human caused releases of CO2.

    To bring stability to the climate GHG output needs to fall. Therefore the less disturbance to the land based carbon sinks and stores the faster atmospheric carbon will be reduced.

    Why is this reduction important.

    Increased CO2 impacts directly on plankton reducing the capacity of the ocean to sink carbon [ocean acidification]. This feedsback into rainfall which combined with changes in temprature will see less of same with more evaporation reducing the ability of plants to sink carbon [reduced rates of growth affects capture and storage]

    The latest damm enterprise from Tas Inc cannot escape the effect of decreased rainfall and runoff. Dams are only effective if they are replenished by precipitation as the Hydro system clearly demonstrates.

    Clearly, selling the wood on a fixed price 20 year contract before knowing either the impact of forest operations on carbon storage or the price of carbon over that 20 year time period and making an allowance for that means the members of the board who agreed to this have failed in their fidicuary duty and their duty to protect the life and property of Tasmanians.

    Unfortunately it appears likely that the mug punters won’t notice until its gone and then it will be too late for all the King’s horses and men.

  3. Justa Bloke

    February 28, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Hey, ‘New Reality’ (#13), I’ve known plenty of people get worse than ‘kneecapped’ for cash. I’ve also known a few kneecappers. The world is how it is and it is stupid to pretend it isn’t.

    As for how far I want to go, the main thing I would say is that what I want is quite irrelevant because I am in a tiny minority and therefore in a democracy won’t ever get what I want (which includes peace, co-operation instead of competition, a sustainable future, transparency in government, a decent life for all, an end to discrimination and exploitation, Grange Hermitage at $10 a bottle, genuine democracy and better pay for lollipop ladies).

    I agree that ‘the difference between civilisation and barbarism is men with principles’ (well one of the chief differences, anyway). What we have in Tasmania is a rapid decline towards the latter.

    I don’t claim to be ‘worldly-wise’, but I am cynical if it is cynical to say after many decades of experience that things just keep getting worse. I guess, despite my advanced years, I am a ‘little boy’ compared to the people who run this place.

    You want to bet on the result of your ‘death-match’? Find me a sane bookie who would offer you anything like even money.

  4. Brenda Rosser

    February 28, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Anti-Collusion says: “Refusal to deal is one of several anti-competitive practices forbidden in countries which have free market economies. For example, in Australia: Agreements involving competitors that involve restricting the supply of goods are prohibited if they have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market in which the businesses operate… ”

    So why isn’t Forestry Tasmania being sued for refusing to allow the general public to engage in auctions for wood supply and access to state forest land and resources?

    Brenda Rosser

  5. Justa Bloke

    February 27, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    In order to answer the question posed by ‘The New Reality’ in post #7, one has to define ‘sane’ in the context of governments.

    I believe that such issues as ‘corruption, cronyism, and denial of modern climate science’ are basic to the functions of government in our society, with only the third of these negotiable.

    Sanity would appear, on the surface, to imply acceptance of factual evidence rather than formulating policy based on vague and vain hopes that the facts might be otherwise. But it may appear more ratonal to go along with those who put a higher priority on short term gain rather than long term environmental consequences. Coal, timber and oil companies, for example, donate heavily to political parties. It would be insane to thwart their desires.

    If you think that corruption and cronyism are not going to feature, then a very simple and painless solution will be flown in by pigs.

  6. don davey

    February 27, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Every day of every week a few months before and since the formation of the “Rudd government” i have made practice, and continue to send at least one letter “A DAY” to the Prime Minister (regarding the mill) whether it be one of my own! or if left wanting for words (as one so often is) one, i have gleaned from other sources such as Tasmanian Times!

    I would be interested to know just how many this place do likewise or something similar, and if not why not ?

    now ! don,t all speak at once !


  7. Anti-Collusion

    February 27, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically involving fraud or gaining an unfair advantage and can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties.”

    All acts effected by collusion are considered void.

    In the study of economics and market competition, collusion takes place within an industry when rival companies cooperate for their mutual benefit. Collusion most often takes place within the market form of oligopoly, where the decision of a few firms to collude can significantly impact the market as a whole. Cartels are a special case of explicit collusion. Collusion which is not overt, on the other hand, is known as tacit collusion.

    There are many ways that implicit collusion tends to develop:

    The practice of stock analyst conference calls and meetings of industry almost necessarily cause tremendous amounts of strategic and price transparency. This allows each firm to see how and why every other firm is pricing their products.

    If the practice of the industry causes more complicated pricing, which is hard for the consumer to understand (such as risk-based pricing, hidden taxes and fees in the wireless industry, negotiable pricing), this can cause competition based on price to be meaningless (because it would be too complicated to explain to the customer in a short advert)…

    Anti-competitive behaviour

    Refusal to deal is one of several anti-competitive practices forbidden in countries which have free market economies. For example, in Australia:

    Agreements involving competitors that involve restricting the supply of goods are prohibited if they have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition in a market in which the businesses operate…

    Exclusive dealing refers to when a retailer or wholesaler is ‘tied’ to purchase from a supplier on the understanding that no other distributor will be appointed or receive supplies in a given area. When the sales outlets are owned by the supplier, exclusive dealing is because of vertical integration, where the outlets are independent exclusive dealing is illegal due to the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, however, if it is registered and approved it is allowed.

    Exclusive dealing can be a barrier to entry,…

  8. Scott

    February 26, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Are the prices Gunns are to pay for our timber going to be indexed to inflation ?

    I’m not an economist, but by my rough calculations, if inflation averages 5% per annum (a very conservative estimate) over the next 20 years, then Gunns floor price should increase from $27 per tonne in the first year to $68 per tonne by the 20th year just to keep up with inflation.

    $68 per tonne is a long way from the $37.80 in the agreement!

  9. Dave Groves

    February 26, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    I hear Gunns share price went through the roof today on the back of an announcement that Gunns has secured an $18 increase on our forests for themselves….and what does the Tasmanian public recieve from this????

  10. john Hayward

    February 26, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    If you think Gunns’ purchase price for FT timber is outrageous, wait till we see what they end up paying for the ownership of State Forest under clause 7.

    We might actually benefit from privatising the Tas Govt as something like Thuggo Enterprises, thus bringing their operations under the Corporations Law.

    This would require them to exercise some semblance of fiduciary duty in respect to our finances (an arcane concept to our pollies) and allow us to sue. Happily, we could prosecute it safely beyond the Tassie courts. It looks an open and shut winner.

    Failing that, you had better sell your rural land to Gunns, move to the nearest town as ordered by the PAL policy, and place a standing order for bottled water from abroad. The other alternative seems to be warfare.

    John Hayward

  11. Tony Saddington

    February 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I think Gunns ultimate goal, Mike, will be to wait until the MIS schemes go ‘belly up’ and to buy plantations at a peppercorn price.
    Investors who stand to lose everything will be over a barrel and will be forced to accept whatever offer is made.
    The timber is grown, bought cheaply and the land is Gunns. The losers will be MIS investors and the Tasmanian public.

  12. Mike Bolan

    February 26, 2008 at 11:21 am

    If native forest is $15 tonne and plantation is $32 tonne, why is Gunns going to buy plantation timber?

    And what about all those private timber plantations that Gunns has been charging ‘investors’ $6,800 per ha plus other fees to operate. Break even at that price requires 212 tonnes/ha, a most unlikely outcome in 15 years growth.

    FT and the State government has thus reset the floor price of timber in Tasmania to guarantee losses to plantation ‘investors’.

    Is that how this is supposed to work?

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