Eleven forest activists sued for their part in December’s climate change protest action at Gunns’ Triabunna woodchip mill today took the first step in pursuing a separate claim against Gunns for misleading the public over claims no old growth forests or logs will be used in its proposed Tamar pulp mill.

At a hearing this morning it was confirmed that Gunns are now the defendants in the case, after a June decision by Justice David Porter to separate the claim Gunns’ damages claim over the Triabunna protest and the claim by activists regarding the pulp mill.

“ Gunns Limited have been attempting some fancy footwork to obscure the fact that no one is interested in investing in their old fashioned, filthy, native forest consuming pulp mill,” said Huon Valley Environment Centre spokesperson Warrick Jordan.

“ Gunns’ claims that no old growth forests or logs will be used in the pulp mill is another plank in their dubious PR strategy to convince investors and the Tasmanian public that the mill will be environmentally friendly,” Warrick Jordan said.

“Any claims that the Bell Bay mill will be environmentally friendly are a load of rubbish. As well as concerns regarding air and water pollution from the mill, it will consume one million tonnes of native forest for the first 2 decades of operation, including high conservation value forests. Gunns’ has also not proved that it will not use old growth forests in the mill,” Warrick Jordan said.

“ We firmly believe Gunns have a case to answer, and look forward to seeing them in court as the case progresses,” Warrick Jordan said.

Background: Forest activists are suing Gunns for misleading and deceiving the public over claims that no old growth forests and no old growth logs will be used in its proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill. Activists believe this deception is a breach of Sections 51 and 52 of the Trade Practices Act.

The defendant’s counterclaim is based on Gunns’ public statements that no ‘ old growth forests’ and no ‘old growth logs’ will be used in its proposed pulp mill. The defendants are claiming that under sections 52 and 51a of the Trade Practices Act Gunns is engaging in ‘deceptive and misleading’ conduct. The defendants are seeking an injunction to prevent Gunns from making future statements of the same nature.