Could be the paranoia or cynicism that comes with another weekend ending far too quickly taking a few more brain cells with it – but one wonders the truth about the Evandale Veneer Mill being canned and where it fits in the bigger picture of Gunns Ltd.

John Gay suddenly canned the veneer plant project at Evandale and the reason given to the media was community concerns. Community concern is pretty minimal compared to that over the pulp mill.

There is more to it. If Northern Midlands Council approved the development it would definitely have been appealed, meaning months of costly work for consultants and lawyers. David Bartlett has asked (in so many words) for other sites to be looked at for the proposal, i.e. Scottsdale. In David Bartlett’s speech to the TCCI last week Here he stated that he now supports the pulp mill project. Have John Gay and David Bartlett agreed that if the veneer plant goes to Scottsdale Bartlett will support the mill?

We can assume the South Australian site was the typical “we’ll take the jobs elsewhere” threat. Economically they need the site as close to the wood supply as possible.

Gunns will probably be able to expand the operations at Evandale to a certain extent through licensing without the tricky and public development application process. The whole affair could be used for positive spin and will not be seen as separate from the greater PR battle over the pulp mill.

We shall wait and see…