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

Economy

The Permit: Last minute surprise! And much tortuous detail…

Dear Reader, This article is long, some of it is ‘technical’ and deals with The Pulp Mill Permit. It consists actually of an unpublished article written last week (26 Aug 2011) and I’ve now added this introduction, as well as the following initial remarks and information which relate to the issue of the water reservoir, planned for that part of the pulp mill project area which is to the east of the East Tamar highway. While much of the controversy surrounding the imminent expiry of ‘The Permit’ has focused correctly on the issue of ‘substantial commencement’ and to what extent the term ‘The Project’ implies actual work on ground, another matter has till now escaped public attention. It is the matter of the permits relating to the mill’s (emergency) water supply and the water reservoir and associated works.

‘THE PERMIT’

What does the term ‘The Permit’ mean?

It is an umbrella term created by the Parliament to refer give expression to the range of permits that relate to the project and which by virtue of the PMAA (Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 ) and of Parliament’s subsequent approval of ‘The Permit’ are taken to exist and have approval as if issued by the appropriate authorities in the usual way. Most of these permits are taken as if they conform to LUPAA (Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 which is the primary planning legislation in Tasmania). However, there are four permits which accrding to the PMAA, are taken as coming under the Water Management Act 1999 . Three of these four permits expire tonight or tomorrow if there is not substantail completion of the works permitted by the permits. Substantial completion…

The water reservoir is one such matter, and it has its own permit (see details below) which requires that it be substantially (commenced) by 30th August. The area designated for this reservoir and for other water works has just been inspected and photographed. There has been no commencement of these works. The bush and dirt tracks through it are still as they were before Gunns acquired the land for their project. Some negligible work relating to testing of groundwater around the solid waste landfill area (not part of the 4 ‘water’ permits) has occurred and now decays silently.

image

The photo tells it all. Can you see a dam wall running across the track? Can you see the rockfill embankment with the 5m clay core and tapered so that the somewhere-near 100,000 cubic metres of batter will be (let’s say for the sake of argument) 30m thick at the bottom and (according to Gunns) 370m from left to right? 5m thick at the top? No, I can’t see it either. Other photos that I have seen are similar. No work relating to these four permits has begun. Save for the pre-existing dirt tracks, the natural flora and fauna exist undisturbed.

No bush has been cleared east of the highway, no water diversions, no reservoir works of any description. some groundwater pipe wells for later-on testing and a couple of star pickets in the ground. The reservoir is meant to to have an eastern and a western wall, of 460m and 370m in length, up to 17m above ground with a width at the top of 5m. There is no such thing. No trees cleared, no earthworks of any description.

THE PERMIT

Mill Permits in 2 Bundles:

Section 8 (5) (a) PMAA: the permits relating to the LUPAA lapse only if ‘The Permit’ (as a whole) lapses due to project not substantially commenced.

BUT
Section 8 (5) (b) PMAA: the permits relating to the Water Management Act lapse if the permitted works are not substantially completed.
These water permits depend not on substantial commencement of the project, but on substantial completion of the dam works themselves.

DETAIL:
Section 8 (5) of the PMAA.

(5) A permit that is to be taken, in accordance with section 8(1)(c), to be issued –
(a) under the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 only lapses under section 53(5) of that Act when the Pulp Mill Permit lapses, if at all, under subsection (4); or
(b) under the Water Management Act 1999 lapses under section 159(8) of that Act at the end of the period of 4 years commencing on the date on which the Pulp Mill Permit comes into force if the dam works within the meaning of that Act are not substantially completed within that 4-year period.

The Pulp Mill Permit lists the following as Permits under the Water Management Act 1999:
WM1 Water licence
WM2 Dam Works Permit – Water Reservoir
WM3 Dam Works Permit – Landfill Pond
WM4 Dam Works Permit – miscellaneous stormwater storage dams and treatment pond dams
[link to document containing schedules WM1 – WM4

WM1: To take water into storage in the dam identified in the DIIS as “Pond at Landfill site” at the approximate coordinates E.494400, N.5444600, from an unnamed tributary of Williams Creek only in accordance with the following:

WM2: To construct a dam of approximately 17 meters in height and approximately 670 megalitres (ML) identified in DIIS as the “Water Reservoir” and the approximate location of which is outlined in the map at Annex 1 only in accordance with the following:.

WM3: To construct a dam identified in the DIIS as the “Pond at landfill site” the approximate location of which is identified on the map included in Annex 1, only in accordance with the following:

WM4: To construct stormwater storage dams and treatment pond dams within the property boundaries for the pulp mill as identified in the DIIS, only in accordance with the following:

MY READING OF THE ABOVE is that:

By Monday/Tuesday the permits (to allow Gunns to construct their water reservoir and their pond at the landfill site (both east of the highway) and stormwater storage dams and treatment pond dams) will have lapsed.

This is because these works have not begun (even as I write this) and yet they are required to be substantially completed as in 8(5) (b) above. It is possible that the licence to take water from the Williams Creek tributary might also lapse along with the other permits.

image

How inept of the government!

The Permit had expired in August 2009. Warren Jones (then EPA Director) sought and received advice from the Solicitor General on the status of the permits (otherwise known as The Permit). This advice has never been released to the parliament or to the public.

Warren Jones then advised Kim Evans (Secretary of DPIWE) that it was ‘not self-evident’ that substantial commencement of the activities authorised by the permits had been undertaken. Using this as a first premise, and citing LUPAA 53(5), Jones informed Evans:

“… of my current view that there is significant doubt that the permits survive”.

As a result, David Bartlett (then Premier) quickly introduced the Clarification Bill, even though the permits had already expired. Instead of clarifying matters, the purpose of this Bill was to obscure the fact that the permits had lapsed. It retrospectively attempted to revive them. For this reason, I would think that the validity of this legislation in itself must be extremely questionable. There is widespread realisation now that the so-called Clarification Bill did not live up to its name because it avoided the question of ‘substantial commencement’ and simply asserted D-Day was two years in the future, next Tuesday 30th August 2011. The 31st August 2011 will be our Day 1 PPE. (Post Permit Expiry) (or Day 2?)

THE UNPUBLISHED LEGAL ADVICE:
We know what the advice was, though we don’t have copies of it. How do we know? We know what we have been grudgingly told, by David Llewellyn (then Minister for Planning) in the Lower House and by Doug Parkinson (Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council).

If we read the Jones to Evans letter, [EPA advice to DPIWE re PULP MILL PERMIT, On TT, HERE ] we see that the legal advice is blacked out, but that Jones has drawn from it “three key points” and as a consequence recommends seeking a Supreme Court ruling or an amendment to the PMAA “to clarify its intent and operation”. It is history now that the Govt choose the legislative, rather than the judicial path. Hoist on their own Section 11 petard?

David Llewellyn, in speaking to the Clarification Bill, told the Parliament that the legal advice included the following three points:

1. The Solicitor-General believed that it was unlikely that Gunns had met the test of substantial commencement in relation to any of the four land-use permits.

2. The advice noted that Gunns legal representatives had put arguments to the effect that either section 53(5) did not apply to LU1-4 or, alternatively, that there had been substantial commencement. The principal Crown Counsel did not agree with this interpretation but in discussions has noted that ultimately the question may only be resolved by a court.

3. In the first instance, the principal Crown Counsel suggested that, if they agreed with the view that the permits had expired, the relevant councils would have the primary obligation to take action to enforce their planning schemes.

Clearly, the advice of the Crown Counsel was that the permits had expired.

What else was in the Crown Counsel advice? I would suggest that the matter of the High Court judgement involving ‘substantial commencement’ was also referred to. Quite clearly in the following Hansard extract, Doug Parkinson was referring to the High Court ruling [Day v Pinglen Pty Ltd [1981] HCA 23; (1981) 148 CLR 289 (26 May 1981)] when he told the Leg. Council that substantial commencement meant:

“The facts must be such as to lead naturally to the conclusion that the commencement of the development is not merely evident but a commitment of resources of such proportion relative to the approved project as to carry the assurance that the work has really commenced”

Compare that statement of his to the High Court judgement:

“The facts must be such as to lead naturally to the conclusion that the commencement is not merely evident, but is substantial, that is, of considerable amount. The statutory purpose must be borne in mind. A substantial commencement involves a commitment of resources of such proportions relative to the approved project as to carry the assurance that the work has really commenced.”

These (and other) comparisons, show that the Leader of the Govt, in the Legislative Council was intimately aware of the judgement of the High Court, when speaking in support of the so-called Clarification Bill. We can conclude that the High Court judgement formed the other essential part of the Solicitor-General’s advice to the Cabinet. If it did not, it would have been critically deficient.

Recently, a number of ‘expiry deniers’ have made public comments about the permits / The Permit.
LARA GIDDINGS: The Premier has affected the ‘Pontius Pilate’ approach. She has washed her hands of any involvement or responsibility for this question of expiration of the permits. According to the Examiner’s Dinah Arndt (Sat 20 Aug 2011 – Legal standoff over pulp mill) she said that: “Legal advice has not been sought by government on what would constitute substantial commencement of the project …” and said that such a question was a matter for the responsible authority.

ALEX SCHAAP: According to the Examiner, the Director of the ‘responsible authority, advised The Examiner on Friday 19th Aug that ‘the authority hadn’t yet deemed it necessary to define “substantially commenced” or decided whether that had occurred. ’ and that he had said that ‘it wasn’t appropriate to speculate on what may happen and named a number of planning authorities and regulators involved in the project that could take action.’ Mr Schaap separately advised TT correspondent John Hawkins in writing that “It is possible that I (or indeed any of a number of regulators) may need to determine if a valid permit exists and if that situation occurs I will take advice on the matter. In the meantime I have many more pressing issues of environmental management to occupy me and I have no thoughts or opinions to offer on the matter” [TCT FOI refused: Meaning of substantial commencement]

And in Mr Schaap’s own self nomination for the ‘Pontius Pilate of the Year’ Award we learn:

• Nick Clark, Mercury:
ENVIRONMENT Protection Authority director Alex Schaap will allow Gunns Limited to do work at the pulp mill site until it is decided what constitutes substantial commencement.

Mr Schaap’s ruling came as Gunns announced yesterday it had let tenders for earthworks at the Bell Bay site near Launceston worth about $20 million.

The company said work would begin this month.

“I do not believe that the permit could be considered as lapsed until a determination is made regarding substantial commencement,” Mr Schaap said.

He said it may be a matter for a court to determine.

The Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 says: “The pulp mill permit lapses if the project is not substantially commenced before the end of the period of four years commencing on the date on which the pulp mill permit comes into force (August 30 2007).” Mr Schaap said he had not yet had cause to take advice regarding the question of substantial commencement.

“But that may occur if I am required to approve any plan or action under the permit after August 30,” he said.

BRYAN GREEN: Ominously, on 8th August, our then Acting Premier spoke with ABC’s Leon Compton:

Q When do they have to show demonstrable progress on the establishment of the pulp mill or have they already shown you enough?
A Well I think that if you look at what Gunns have done over the time that they have been working on this project – I think that they’ve expended about $140m to get the project to this point. The requirements as I understand it, is there needs to be significant progress made on the project, there was a change as a result of legislation whereas I think it was construction before but significant progress on the project, but you know, it can be determined that they’ve done an enormous amount of work to get it to this point.

Q Do you feel satisfied that they’ve done enough?
A Well it’s not me that needs to be satisfied with respect to the permit process Leon, it’s the EPA and the processes associated with that. Bryan Green speaks with Leon Compton

CONCLUSION
We can see from Bryan Green’s remark that he (speaking on behalf of the Government) is trying to sell the line that the Clarification Bill took the focus of substantial commencement from ‘construction’ and directed it to ‘the project’. That is, Green was claiming that it is not construction that has to be substantially commenced by next Tuesday, but ‘the project’. He made mention of $140m that Gunns had already spent and ‘an enormous amount of work that Gunns had done to get the project to that point. His use of the word ‘significant’ rather than ‘substantial’ was clumsy and showed how he was blurring the facts to try and convince listeners that you can have made substantial commencement of a project without having any tangible thing to show for it.

I wrote elsewhere of the ‘creative language’ that would be used in these final days.

“FUTURE TREACHERY:

If Gunns survive their share price crash and trading halt, what can we expect? We can expect Bryan Green, as the responsible Minister, to tell us on August 31st that a substantial commencement has been made to the construction of the mill: he will tell us that a few bulldozers and trucks slithering in the mud do represent a substantial commitment of resources. Then Lara Giddings, our Premier-for-the-time-being will tell us, ‘gopher wheels whirring’ that construction has substantially commenced. We will hear it. It will come too from the mouths of your Ivan Deans, your Greg L’Estranges and your Michael Fields of this world.

We have been lied to for years now. The lies and spin won’t stop.”
[http://oldtt.pixelkey.biz/index.php?/weblog/article/it-was-not-self-evident-to-me-that-the-works-that-gunns-had-undertaken-/…]

Bryan Green’s attempt to suggest that the PMAA requires only substantial progress in planning the project, belongs to the ‘lies and spin’ just mentioned.

Gunns’ Greg L’Estrange who this Fri 26th Aug is reported [Examiner HERE] as claiming the awarding of a bulk earth works contract is “clearly substantial progress towards bringing the mill to reality” Note the desire to suggest that works regarded marginally as pertaining to construction are cited here by the chief of Gunns. This is tacit acceptance of the legal situation – Gunns have less than 100 hours by the time you read this of demonstrating that they have made a substantial commencement to the construction of the mill. Mr L’Estrange is trying to suggest that awarding a contract is evidence that a substantial commencement of construction has occurred. The previous Premier, who introduced the so-called Clarification Bill, was also the man who told us that there would have to be more than a few holes in the ground – that was over two years ago, and thankfully we don’t even have that.

Q Has the project got off the drawing board?
A No.

Q Apart from a short section of road, and an area of clear-felled bush, what has been done?
A Nothing.

Q Has the company demonstrated it is actually starting the project?
A No, it’s been suspended from trading on the ASX, it has no financial JVP, it has admitted making the largest loss in Tasmanian corporate history, it share price has been destroyed, it has ‘sold off the farm’ to clear debt, yet it remains in debt and it has pretended that awarding a contract for earthworks to begin ‘soon’ is not a simple stalling device – a device to assist in the spurious claim that something is progressing.

The High Court can have the final say:
“The facts must be such as to lead naturally to the conclusion that the commencement is not merely evident, but is substantial, that is, of considerable amount. … A substantial commencement involves a commitment of resources of such proportions relative to the approved project as to carry the assurance that the work has really commenced.”

POSTSCRIPT
“project” means the project declared by the Administrator to be a project of State significance on 22 November 2004 in Statutory Rules 2004, No. 111, being the proposal by Gunns Limited (ACN 009 478 148), as amended, for the development and operation of a bleached kraft pulp mill in northern Tasmania including any use or development which is necessary or convenient for the implementation of the project, including but not limited to the development and operation of any facility or infrastructure for –
(a) the supply or distribution of energy to or from the mill; and
(b) the collection, treatment or supply of water; and
(c) the treatment, disposal or storage of waste or effluent; and
(d) access to or from the mill; and
(e) transport to or from the mill; and
(f) the storage of pulp at, or transport of pulp from, a sea port in the northern region or the north-western region; and
(g) the production of materials for use in association with the operation of the mill;
[from the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 and the then State Policies and Projects (Project of State Significance) Order 2004]

Clearly this definition of “project” is concerned with the physical development (construction) of the pulp mill, in its various constituent parts and places. Its expression “including but not limited to” should be understood in the context of other physical developments potentially overlooked by (a)-(g). An example of such a development would be the workers’ village to be constructed in George Town. As you see, its development (construction) is not mentioned in the definition, but would be included by the ‘but not limited to’ phrase.

There is nothing in this definition however to indicate that development of the Draft IIS, the gaining of legislative approval, the issuing of planning permits and the like are envisaged as belonging within the legal definition of “project”, as defined above.

PPS At 20 to 6pm, this Friday the 26th of August, it looks as though Gunns has missed another deadline … they promised a Market Update today [PDF] and it’s not in evidence… perhaps it was ‘hearsay’!

PPPS I hope anyone who got this far was able to distinguish the two sections of the article, the long second bit was written on Friday and concerned the pulp mill permit in its entirety, while the first part, written this Monday morning (29th Aug) deals with the four ‘water’ permits that require substantial completion any moment now.

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22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Concerned Voter

    August 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Gary
    Great article, don’t forget the East Tamar Highway upgrade. (I think $80,000,000 plus)
    I have been trying to deal with the State Government, opposition and the Greens for the last 3 years on several sustainable development proposals for the region. These proposals are linked to the development of a long term plan (25 years and beyond) for the whole North of the State, thus creating major economic and employment opportunities, while creating sustainable environmental solutions.
    I struggle to get return phone calls or emails from the majority of politician’s and bureaucrat’s that have received the information, let alone getting the proposals analysed.
    Some say this is due to current economic situation, which will not improve without investigation of new ideas and/or developments.

    Signed
    Concerned Voter

  2. Rob

    August 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    gary

    Harmonisation refers to making the state and federal permits match (from the Australian, March 10):

    “Mr L’Estrange said Gunns was seeking “harmonisation” between state and federal permits, and did not deny this might lead to a reduction in some state permit requirements. “But it’s not what I would call a material change,” he added.”

    I read the legal opinion obtained by Kim Booth and i dont think it mentions the effect of s9 of the PMAA in relation to the Water Management Act.

  3. William Boeder

    August 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    An interesting curlicue that hasn’t raised any concerns is: what is it that has supposedly cost Gunns Ltd, (their now estimated to be $230 million dollars?)
    In my mind $230 million dollars should buy a few paddocks full of gear and equipment, also we may enquire, who have been the honorable and worthy recipients of bits or chunks of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.
    This issue in itself could become an arbitrary issue when the receivers enter the business premises of Gunns Ltd, (if this itself has not already been sold by then?)

    In the old currency, Gunns Ltd shares are not really worth 2 bob! (2 shillings or 2/-.)

    Were I the worthy man in the ANZ Bank, who is responsible for and has the Gunns Ltd file, (now emanating its peculiar got-no-money stink,) upon my desk, I would be feeling a tad uncomfortable, maybe even now displaying an uncharacteristic nervous rictus or a newly acquired facial jerky motion, (I think it is called a tic.)

    In my frightened reading down the column entries to truly discover the enormous disparity in actual material assets, (none of that goodwill crap, nor any promised undertakings crap,) as against the huge sums owing by this once Leviathan Emperor of the Stock Exchange, Oh dear. Oh no….

    Hmm, maybe the nearest tall brige, or maybe head in the oven, a swan-dive of the cliff, ahh, skip town and assume an alias…………good-bye Mum and the kids!
    Alas, no bonus for me this Chrissy!

  4. Garry Stannus

    August 29, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Rob #18
    I was hoping your #2 was ‘wrong’. I’m sure as hell hoping your #18:

    “It seems clear that the dam permit cannot is extended”

    proves true.

    Sorry it took me longer to reply to your #2 than I would have preferred. Flat chat. and I still don’t know what to make of Section 159. Obviously very many would recognise that the ‘Clarification’amendments to the PMAA had cancelled out the usual time-limits that otherwise would apply for permits that come under the Water Management Act. In other words, the PMAA over-rode the WMA. And it did so with regard to the expiry date.

    Whether elements of the WMA (such as extensions) still exist, I do not know. You referred to 9(1)(a) of the PMAA and I can see the way you are reading it, but I can well imagine a Judge finding other legal bits which could conceivably cancel out your reading.

    I heard Kim Booth refer to this issue of the required ‘substantial completion’ of the water reservoir etc at 4:00pm this arvo. He referred to legal opinion. I hope that opinion has considered your Section 159. This morning I listened to Greg L’Estrange talk to Leon Compton. Mr L’Estrange said that a ‘harmonisation of permits’ had occurred 6 weeks previously. I don’t know what he was referring to, but of course I am worried that it might be this very matter of having to ask for an extension (if s159 is applicable) no later than 30 days (was that the figure?) before the expiry date.

    Thank you so much for your input. In my book, The Permit expires in 7 hours.

  5. Rob

    August 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    #16 Gary

    I think you have raised an excellent point.

    Section 9(1)(a) of the PMAA prevents the use of any part of legislation that requires the approval of any person:

    “(1) The provisions of any Act, planning scheme, special planning order or interim order –

    (a) requiring the approval, consent or permission of any person in connection with any use or development in relation to the project; …

    do not apply to the project.”

    Further, the Water Management Act 1999 section 159(9) requires Gunns to apply to the “Assessment Committee”, who consider a number of factors before granting or refusing an extension to the dam permit. The would be prohibited under the PMAA – an extension of the permit requires the “approval, consent or permission” of the Committee.

    I assume that the Committee in question is made op of a number of “persons”.

    It seems clear that the Dam permit cannot be extended.

    It also seems obvious that following the dam permit lapsing, no further work on the pulp mill should occur, until such time as a new permit is obtained. Section 8(3) of PMAA states

    “3) If the person proposing the project does not comply with a condition contained in the Pulp Mill Permit, the Pulp Mill Permit is suspended until such time as the condition is complied with.”

    While it seems no notification to the public is required for a permit extension, a new permit application requires notification under s149, and allows for representations to be made. However, I assume that the decision for the new permit would still be subject to the “limitation to rights of appeal” under the PMAA.

  6. max

    August 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    14 # Barnaby. Add the Meander Dam to the long list of tax payers gifts to the pulp mill. With out the money supplied to build this dam the pulp mill would be an impossibility.

  7. Garry Stannus

    August 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    #2 Rob:

    Nice point you raise about Section 159 (of the Water Management Act).

    I’m trying to get my head around the issue you raised, and so far, haven’t come up with anything. I ‘thought’ the 4 year lapse in Section 8 of the PMAA was final. What about Section 9 of the PMAA? Do you think that could come into play, preventing the extension? (Just kicking ideas around). If the permit was extended, would there have to be a public notice, or can they keep it to themselves?

  8. mjf

    August 29, 2011 at 11:39 am

    No.22 on #7’s list is not a requirement so please delete. It can be replaced by something that is important such as sensitive receptor modelling, approved traffic management plan, approved significant species management plan, approved waste management plan or commencement of soil/subsoil analysis for pipeline routes(amongst many others).

  9. Barnaby Drake

    August 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

    As opposed to the list of what they have not done, here is a list of what they HAVE done.

    1. Taken a joyride to Sweden with a bunch of suck…Sorry ..MP’s
    2. Ditto to Brazil.
    3. Built a private garage block in Hobart.
    4. Ran a special bus round all the schools in the north of Tassie.
    5. Made party political donations to everybody except the Greens.
    6. Sued 20 people for getting in their way.
    7. Sued another 13 people for the same reason.
    8. Bought and closed down rival Scottsdale.
    9. Lots of trips to Japan with Premiers and government Ministers in tow.
    10. Logged the mill site and chipped the results.
    11. Wrote the PAL Act for the benefit of all Tasmanians.
    12. Announced 22 Joint Venture Partners to the ASX.
    13. Borrowed $760 Million to keep the pulp mill dream alive.
    14. Sold all their saleable assets to cover these debts.
    15. Pillaged the Treasury for everything they could possibly get.
    16. Got the Government to build them free culverts.
    17. Conned Bartlett into donating ‘spare’ land at the side of the Dilston bypass for their pipeline to get round having to buy rights from the land owners.
    18. Conned the Launceston council into giving them access across reserved land to connect their pipeline to Trevallyn dam.
    19. Negotiated a special price for 40 gigalitres of water at mates rates.
    20. Dismissed a couple of hundred timber workers without compo and with the full co-operation of the union.
    21. Demanded a Trading Halt when everything went pear shaped.
    22. Started another company called Southen Star for all their ex-directors.
    23. Presented the worst set of accounts second only to Forestry and got away with it.
    24. Claimed that all this has cost them $200 Million and represents a ‘Substantial Commencement’ of their building plans.

    The above points having been accepted by the EPA as an official start to the building of the mill and they are now waiting for it to be confirmed as a valid reason and a true interpretation of the words by the High Court.

    How can it fail?

  10. Rod

    August 29, 2011 at 2:20 am

    The cost of this project, assuming a 5% (it’s probably more like 10%)increase per annum, is increasing by $10m. a month. Spending $20m. over 7 months is actually going backwards not progressing as L’Estrange claims.

  11. Stephani

    August 29, 2011 at 2:03 am

    27. No idea

  12. John Day

    August 29, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Ammendment to #7, item no 24 is in place.

  13. john hawkins

    August 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    John Day,

    26.No money.

  14. Russell

    August 28, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Royal Commission please.

  15. Rod

    August 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Gunns will be busy sending out backdated letters as soon as they realise!

  16. John Day

    August 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    If anyone says that the $2.5 Billion proposed project has reached a stage of “substantial commencement” they do not live in our world ,are beyond redemption or have a financial interest.

    Here is a list of what they have not done.
    ( note – major plant and equipment has a 2 to 3 year lead time and usually needs large payments with the firm order and progress payments)

    1. Directors have not approved the $2.3B project expenditure – also what is the cost now – $3.5B .workers, steel, equipment all escalated. In competition with established Major gas, coal and iron ore projects in WA& NT & Qld.
    2. The PMA Act is about a $2.3B pulp mill not $30M of earth works or the cost of gaining approvals for the proposed project.
    3. The proponent has not started a relationship with a final joint venture partner or financier – they have no financial capacity to undertake this proposed project.
    4. The proponent does not have sufficient reserves of plantation timber to continue the project for more than say five years and has not started or continued to establish enough plantations to support a 1.3M tonne per year ( air dried tonnes)pulp mill.
    5. No heads of agreement or overall project manager appointed for proposed project.
    6. Trevallyn Reserve – vegetation only cleared and now largely grown back.
    7. No pumps ordered, no pump shed or surge tanks built.
    8. Pipeline through Riverside and down to river- WTC referred this to the Government three years ago – no action or clarification to date.
    9. River crossing – no progress with LCC, no pipes no dredge or boring contracts let.
    10. 32Kms of pipe work not ordered & no contract to excavate and bury.
    11. No clear access to revised pipeline route agreement with all property owners.
    12. Toxic waste dam and dump nor process water dam nor storm water and treatment dam not started.
    13. Water supply pipeline from Williams Creek not started.
    14. Workers Accommodation building not started.
    15. Green ”waste” power station not ordered or started.
    16. $1.0M security boundary fencing not ordered or installed.
    17. Export shipping wharf, river dredging and warehousing not started.
    18. Final civil, engineering drawings or specifications not purchased yet.
    19. Other than rudimentary roadways/ tracks and vegetation clearance – no work has commenced.
    20. No construction stores, equipment yards and material storage facilities started on site.
    21. No site toilets or amenity block for construction workers.
    22. No social licence.
    23. No Community Liaison Committee formed.
    24. No 24hr hot line or Public Complaints Register and Protocol in place.
    25. No current public notice to the community concerning blasting.

    Please add to the list or comment.( thanks Gary)

  17. Maddie

    August 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Excellent breakdown Gary. Being the cynical and suspicious person that I am now, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the application for an extension suddenly turns up. “Oops, it was filed away a month ago and not actioned – silly mistake, but mistakes happen. Anyway, we have it now, so it’s all legal.”

  18. Barnaby Drake

    August 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    A spokesman for Gunns says the company has met the permit requirements with earth works to start this week and some roads already built.

    The roads that are ‘built’ are nothing more than logging tracks which were used a couple of years ago to remove the timber that was on site. Nothing has been done to them since and most of them go directly though the middle of the the planned pulp mill buildings area.

    As no earthworks have commenced ant the Planning Permit was rejected two years ago, nothing has changed – except some government members. The legal reasons for rejection then are still valid now, and it only seem that the parliamentarian’s ignorance of the English language is the only raeson for this farce to continue.

    I agree that the matter should go to court – and I hope that every (MP) is charged and found guilty of abnegation of duty and due care, hypocricy, corruption and so lacking in basic comprehension that they are removed from office.

    However, I doubt Utopia is about to arrive and we shall continue with this bumbling and expensive incompetence where the supposed leaders cannot decide anything for themselves without having to get their actions defined for them by a High Court.

  19. music lover

    August 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Nice article. To me the definition of substantial has become a line in the sand. Anybody planning on gettting arrested this week? Count me in such an action.

  20. john hawkins

    August 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Dear Garry,

    The so called Environment Protection Authority is like The Integrity Commission, set up by our political masters as a fully extended arm of Government to lull us into a false sense of security.

    Remember the smoke from Victoria which you so carefully traced to Tasmania? The EPA by remaining inert and death like blew that pure white and harmless over the hills and far away, all without a trace.

    These boys are another arm of Government.

  21. Rob

    August 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    There is a way to extend the dam permits… section 159(9). But 159(10) states that this must be applied for at least a month before the permit expires. Is it possible to find out if an application was made by Gunns?

    (9) However, on the application of the permit holder, the Assessment Committee may extend the time for which a permit is in force for a period not exceeding 2 years if it is satisfied that the extension –

    (a) does not change the effect of any condition that has been imposed by the Board or the Appeal Tribunal; and

    (b) will not significantly increase any adverse impact on –

    (i) the land or property of any person other than the applicant; or

    (ii) the environment –

    having regard to the conservation or protection of natural values and cultural heritage; and
    (c) will not increase the risk of an incident arising from the dam works in respect of which the permit was granted.

    (10) An application for an extension under subsection (9) must be –

    (a) in accordance with section 12A; and

    (b) made no later than one month before the permit is due to lapse.

  22. John Biggs

    August 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Well done, Garry. It’s important we have the full details so the whole shameful story is on the public record. And even mor eimportant, hwere the weak points are to be challenged. It seems to hinge on Schaap’s extraordinary ruling that what is probably illegal may continue to be performed until it becomes legal! Surely that can be challenged.

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