Tasmanian Times


Libs’ insane pulp mill proposal

The Tasmanian Greens today condemned the latest Liberal Party proposal to “de-risk” the failed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill project using taxpayers’ money.

Greens Forestry spokesperson Kim Booth MP said the proposal from Regional Development Assistant Minister Jamie Briggs was especially unsavoury in light of Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s threats to slash education funding.

“The Liberals are effectively proposing siphoning money out of Tasmanian schools and into a project that would be an economic and environmental disaster in the Tamar Valley,” Mr Booth said.

“Will Hodgman needs to rule out taking this seriously bad advice from his federal counterparts.”

“It is notionally insane that any government would propose taking on the financial risk for a project that has demonstrably failed to achieve interest from investors.”

“Worse still, they are proposing not only transferring the financial risk but the environmental and health risks on to the public.”

“Taxpayers’ money should be prioritised for looking after public health, education and schools, not providing financial guarantees to the Liberal Party’s rich industry mates and cronies.”

“Mr Nicolic should be reminded that not only was the project financially unviable, is opposed by the majority of Tasmanians who were outraged at the corrupt approval process.”

Examiner: Pulp mill finds Federal favour

Peter Whish-Wilson: Pulp Mill fiction as Liberals abandon education promise

An Occasional Correspondent: Volker to Colbeck?

MEANWHILE, It’s the Economy, Stupid …

ABC: State accounts show Tasmania in negative growth

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Bonni Hall

    November 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Thank you Garry for saying what so many of us think and feel but are not as eloquent as you.

  2. mike seabrook

    November 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    have the lab-greens sacked everyone in 10 murray st yet, so that they can pull down this functional building which has 50 years of life in it yet.

    how many will be sacked to pay for the fit out & for the lease charges over the next 10 years.

    how will tasmanians pay for the extra lab-green spinners who will no doubt occupy the replacement building.

  3. phill Parsons

    November 28, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Can anyone name a pulp mill supported or underwritten by a democratically elected government profitably competing on the world market with some feedstock imported by ship to a location further from its major markets?.

    If not we can be pretty sure the idea won’t float in the market because if it did every sharp operator would have made it happen in those countries where elections are democratic.

    This is chicken feed for the ill informed who will take it up believing some magician will throw money at a broken project that could not convince the market place pre FSC and GFC.

    The Abbott plan to revive the broken Tasmanian economic model will soon be going on Xmas hols not to reappear until the Sate election in march if then.

    Chewing gum, mending fences with Indonesia and China, dealing with the fall in popularity whilst running an agenda of cuts for everybody except the rich puts dealing with the Tasmanian economic model on the backburner.

    However, a pre State election handout is not off the cards but it will be short term, lack programmatic specificity and leave the local economy as distorted as before.

    Pulp mill, if they are crazy they should reflect on the national campaign last time whilst looking at the number of opponents they have created in just 90 days.

  4. Garry Stannus

    November 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    No matter what the apologists might say, they don’t answer this question … how are we supposed to respond when we see our legal structures misused … when we saw powerful political figures making deals with vested interests, to over-run proper procedures, to ignore the demonstrated will of the Tasmanian community. Regardless of one Examiner respondent’s spurious claim that some 80% were in favour of the mill, time and again, the surveys and polls showed that the majority of us (some 73% showed disapproval of the project and the shenanigans used to achieve it. In fact, only 1 out of 22 survey/polls ever yielded a pro mill result. And that was taken in supposed mill heartland … George Town. Where intimidation and misinformation ruled the day … and even then they only managed 52% while 48% voted against the mill.

    And what of Lennon’s admission that the mill lacked a social licence? And what of Greg L’Estrange’s confirmation of that fact.

    I have seen collusion, intimidation, abuse – no not on the internet where any troll can mouth off – and I have witnessed aggression. By intimidation I mean threats and the behaviours that accompany threats. And this stuff has been ‘one-way’. Yep, from some (but thankfully not all) members of the pro-mill side. The lock-ons and trespass wrongs that came from the anti-mill side are minor in comparison to the other. And yet there are those who would make a mountain out of a trespass molehill, yet were silent when Steve Kons lied to the House, silent when the PMAA 2007’s Section 11 which disallowed legal actions against the fast-tracked assessment and approval … was approved.

    So if people object to peaceful community protest on the grounds that it’s against the law, they should be prepared to tell us just what we are supposed to do once the normal legal processes have been denied us. Once the normal (à la Section 11) legal recourse – common law – have been denied us by those men and women, Liberal and Labor alike and the so-called independents in the Upper House – like Paul Harris – now showing his Liberal spots. Just what were we supposed to do?

    The law was abused by Labor, by Liberals, by these mock Upper House independents and by Gunns. We opposed those wrongs and we will oppose them again.

  5. Garry Stannus

    November 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    The Examiner must enjoy baiting its long-suffering readership. They can float these crazy ideas and somehow the pipe-dream continues, just like when Gunns was still afloat, there’d be the brand-new article telling of the latest word of truth from John Gay or revealing that strongly interested project investors were in final talks with Gunns. Sometimes they were from Europe, sometimes they were Chinese, once they were Kiwis and then Gunns, big brave Gunns said they’d do it themselves. The lot of them, they all had one thing in common – they never invested. So now we have to have the DIY Pulp Mill. And what about the jobs furphy? Tourism, according to recent figures, has seen direct and flow-on employment rise to 30,000. Not so long ago it was around 10,000. And logging? Peanuts. Yet those who run the Examiner, and those who elsewhere have promoted this mill, be it in the Parliament, in the political parties or in the chambers of commerce, would inflict this wretched mill project on us.

    And with the recent talk, and calls for the mill, there are those who object to protest. Their ideas are weak and are seen for what they are: apologists for Gunns and Tas Inc. “It is never right to break the law’ they whine. Yet curiously they slobbered and fawned over Gunns and Lennon’s nifty manoeuvres. You didn’t see or hear from them when the powers-that-be were doing the law-breaking. Citizens tried to stop the illegal earthworks at Long Reach. What sort of crime was that? John Gay’s pulp mill scheme. Him! We used peaceful, non violent protest to stop those illegal works. The Permit for the mill expired twice – the first time Parliament solved it with a ‘Clarification’ amendment to the PMAA 2007. Project work, done at that time, was illegal. Earlier work work, such as clearing the bush at Trevallyn and at Long Reach) had occurred and was illegal.

    Next, the earthworks at the Long Reach site, done after the Permit expired the second time, commenced. These works were illegal. The dam permits had expired and were ‘renewed’ despite such renewal being ruled out by Section 9 of the PMAA 2007. The law was consistently abused by the pro-mill side. The only illegal things that we did were trespass and chaining ourselves to machinery. Big Deal. Our RPDC planning guidelines were ripped up, Gunns’ lawyers wrote the Pulp Mill Assessment Act (True), the Govt tried to move people out of the way by offering plum jobs, they shredded the evidence (Steve Kons), the business community sucked up, while many ‘kept their hands looking clean’ and ripped the community off. Gunns aggressively took over companies, sacked workers and were prepared to trash the Tamar Valley and Bass Strait. Some are hung up on trespass yet have no criticism of Gunns and their friends in the Parliament.

  6. Russell

    November 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Re #20
    Err no, every single Tasmanian Party (including the Greens) have played their own stupid little parts in the pulp mill fraud.

  7. Don Ford

    November 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Love the way it’s all the Libs fault, apparently. Do you not read other media or just want to rip into the Libs? Labor and Giddings are still pushing the “mill barrow”: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/1938172/pulp-mill-needed-lara-giddings/?cs=87

  8. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    This Pulp Mill [i]Dracula[/i] would have been dead and buried were it not for a duplicitous roundtable negotiation foundation. The Lib-Labs political majority and their controllers still want to breath life back into this project and make it a [i]’Lazarus risen'[/i]!

    Let’s start going through the list on this fiasco [please feel free to add to this bull-shit and crazy mind-fuck (sorry) heap.]

    [b]MIS pulp plantations[/b] – thousands of hectares of rebel trees looking for a cause; a known fire hazard; uncertain valuation; poorly-managed; biodiversity black holes; biocide users and probably generators; water hungry; debit-riven; a liability to many landowners…. etc.

    [b]Forests for Conservation[/b] – still in limbo. ~122,000 ha of the IRPO under the TFA Act waiting for A-G Brian Wightman and Labor to get Governor Underwood to sign these reserves into permanent protection and make it [b]L-A-W[/b] before the election.

    What’s the hold up? I think we know – the bad polls for Labor! Will it happen before Lara Giddings calls the State election and goes in to care-taker? Any bets?

    [b]Commonwealth money[/b] for Tasmania’s shrinking economy in lieu of the ‘peace in the forests’ deal; one of the linch-pins holding the Tas Forest Agreement-train together. Confirmed corrupted proceeses in the handling of the forestry exit packages to contractors; massive government payments to Ta Ann and Gunns Ltd; more money to prop up the loss-generating GBE that’s responsible for public forests – FT; self-serving long-term wood supply agreements to main forestry players in Tasmania paid out using federal Govt money! A State in recession, highest unemployment rate in the nation and State Government’s budget in the red.

    [b]Gunns TV Pulp Mil[/b]l – Lib-Labs’ Sleeping ‘Beauty’ still dormant; apparently hoping for the kiss of life from the PM Prince, Tony Abbott.

    over to you …..

    A Commission of Inquiry needed. Welcome to a very crazy, corrupt and mendicant Taz-mania!

  9. max

    November 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    17 # Spot on on all counts. A lot of plantations are being eaten by the build up of bugs, the long wet has given the grass, weeds and gorse a massive build up and this summer could see fire destroy what is left of the plantations. The whole pulp mill saga was an ill conceived unviable nightmare and all our elected representatives are to dumb to grasp this simple fact. They said when they asked for a 40% pay rise that if you pay peanuts you will get monkeys, well give me the monkeys.

  10. Russell

    November 27, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Re #1
    It is already documented fact that there is no where near enough pulp mill feedstock within Tasmania and that’s why Gunns took on so much plantation (and lost it all) on the mainland, which also made it totally financially unviable (think transport costs). What’s left in Tasmania of the plantation feedstock is weed-infested, left unattended for the past few years or dying.

    One has to wonder how the hell increasing the Parliamentary basket case numbers would help anyone but those filthily pigging themselves in the public trough?

    Royal Commission please, NOW!

  11. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Tom, if you listened to TWS’s Vica Bailey’s last interview on these machinations (with Leon Compton ABC 936 Mornings) there is a complete stuckness about the ENGOs acceptance of [i]’a pulp mill'[/i] as a fundamental plank of their subsequent negotiations with the likes of Terry Edwards (and even the beleaguered Gunns Ltd) through the [b]Statement of Forest Principles[/b].

    As other TT commentors have said – the Tasmanian Greens and others could have driven a stake through this Dracula but they squibbed and the ENGOs negotiators [Messrs Oosting and Pullinger in 2010] in those early month’s blinked and accepted the forestry industries’ bargaining conditions. The rest is historical.

    Both Bob and Christine were underwhelmed with ‘deal’ the ENGOs accepted when amended TFA bill came back to be voted on in early 2013. And [i]still[/i] we wait for the Governor Underwood to sign into Law the Interim Reserves Protection Order for 122,000 ha of WHA and HCV forests!

    [PS: The [b]Tasmanian Conservation Trust[/b] was left out of these ENGO talks and launched a live Supreme Court action against the validity of the Pulp Mill Permits supported by donations from ordinary Tasmanians.]

  12. Karl Stevens

    November 27, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    I think Andrew Nikolic is a key player in this. He was responsible for releasing ADF information on Australia’s role in Abu Ghraib and he also defended the army firing on and wounding unarmed children and civilians in Afghanistan. These were allegedly ‘war crimes’.
    Isn’t he just the guy the Libs need to use military force against Australians to build a pulp mill?
    Nikolic may carry dual-citizenship due to Serbia allowing dual-citizenship.

  13. Tom

    November 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Kim Booth’s own party facilitated the “forest peace deal”, the main reason why the prospect of a pulp mill is still alive today fulfilling the aim of why the whole process was setup in the first place. His job and the Tamar Valley was always going to be collateral damage to save a couple of more trees for Bob to hug. Ironically even that got felled.

  14. David Obendorf

    November 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Bob Kendra and Pilko… the dynamism of Nick & Cassy driving the Tasmanian Green Party in coalition with the current corrupt Labor lot was always going to be a difficult gig for these two public relations trained individuals.

    The ‘Give Peace a Chance’ rapproachment between the ENGOs and the forestry industry was an exercise in politicl deception – thick with it! – that’s created a very distrustful constituency who fundamentally see themselves anti-Liberal/anti-Labor. The Tasmanian Greens appeasement caravan rolled on to the Treasury benches and they lost their ‘new paradigm in politics/power-sharing Parliament’ plot.

    The legacy of the undelivered forest protection between 2010-2013 might be the fragmentation of Bob’s ‘We Greens’ as a top-down ideological/political force.

    So, will you vote in March?

    And how will you decide?

    John Hawkin’s [i]Scruffy[/i] looks like an option – a [b]Protest Vote[/b] against the incumbent dissembers that show they really cannot work together – Red, Blue and Green.

    Political power is their Opium.

  15. mike seabrook

    November 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

    no cargo cult when the big spenders run out of other peoples money to spend, when they start squealing like stuck pigs.

    my guess mckim, o’connor & giddings will not even stand for election as they would be sitting targets for ridicule over the next 4 years.

    what does mr wilkie say about his hobart hospital which was promised by the lab-greens in return for renting his votes to gillard, if the fed libs defer funding it for 3 years.

  16. Stephan

    November 27, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Prince John lives

    Where’s Robin Hood?

  17. John Wade

    November 27, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Will the pulp mill become a state or federal asset that will be sold off by Joe Hockey?

    Asset is both farcical and fragile.

    Or will it become the ancient mariner’s curs’ed albatross?

  18. Pete Godfrey

    November 27, 2013 at 9:28 am

    The first part of the headline is totally correct.
    “Libs Insane”
    the bit about the pulp mill is just the usual rubbish to create divides and to show how gung ho the Libs are.
    Maybe we need to tell the U.S that there is an underground Al Qaida base in the Tamar valley and get them to bomb the crap out of the paddock where the pulp mill was supposed to go all those years ago.
    Why not … we paid for the flattened spot anyway.

  19. pilko

    November 27, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Privatise the profits, socialise the costs.

    Round & round it goes.

    Despite the change in what & how much it logs, the business model by which the logging industry operates is as bad as ever.

    The industry wont change because politicians like the LNP’s Jamie Briggs allow things to stay the same.

    If the ENGO’s care enough to make the effort & they & their friends in the NPMA play their message smart (all too often their message isn’t smart, topical, well researched & thought through), they can easily win the public relations war on the issue of public money & the pulp mill.

    We’ve done the polling on this topic & the public is in no mood to see more good money thrown after bad when our health system in particular is in shitsville.

    Tasmania can no longer afford to bear the risks/costs of buying over priced logging businesses with precious public money while our essential services starve & offshore shareholders & corporate fatcats take home logging profits.

    If the ENGO’s, state & federal Greens had any balls they would simply tell Tony Abbott to expect social unrest, protest & civil disobedience on a scale this state has never seen if anymore taxpayer dollars are thrown at the pulp mill.

  20. John Hawkins

    November 26, 2013 at 8:40 pm


    As I have said before on TT it is viable once the taxpayer through the Federal Government wears the risk.

    Buying votes in Tasmania with taxpayers money in this the ultimate Cargo Cult State is not all that expensive in the scheme of things.

    Abbot needs wall to wall Liberal Governments to increase the GST and one of the last domino’s to fall into place will be Tasmania.

    The Examiner is the organ of the Liberal Party so in this matter it speaks with authority.

    The Libs may even have a real plan, as to Hodgman being able to execute a plan that is another matter.

  21. Estelle Ross

    November 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    If Richard Chandler’s due diligence decided that it was a no-goer then why on earth should any other company even give it consideration. It never had and never will have the support of the community. Anyone who has perused the 100’s of pages of Gunns’ Plans for the mill would have to admit that it is just not viable, economically, environmentally and socially. This was clearly stated by the RPDC at the time and that is why Gunns pulled out of the review and the infamous fast track assessment was put in place plus the enactment of the iniquitous Pulp Mill Assessment Act.

    The back room deals and questionable antics of those in state parliament at the time was an absolute disgrace and there is no way that Tasmanian Taxpayers should have to foot the bill for what would surely be a gigantic white elephant.

    Anyone with an ounce of commonsense would realise that there is no way we could compete in a global market with our high cost of wages when other countries like South America and China can grown the trees faster and have much reduced overheads.

    There is no guarantee even that all the jobs would go to Tasmanians. There might be a few lowly paid labouring jobs but the highly qualified staff needed would probably come from overseas

    For goodness sake we don’t even have a direct shipping service to overseas destinations!.

    And do not forget that if the mill were to be built it would have a deleterious effect on current jobs and completely destroy the viability of farming, vineyards, and tourism attractions etc in the Tamar Valley plus destroy the fishing grounds in Bass Strait and severely pollute the air shed of the valley with its inversion layer leading to totally unnecessary health hazards for its residents.

    We will never cease fighting the project so I say to governments, state and federal; you may as well give up this crazy idea once and for all.

  22. john hayward

    November 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    The Libs will have some serious dosh to drop into the pork barrel once they have defunded those services and projects which don’t benefit their calibre constituents disproportionately.

    Like the coal seam gas industry, a mill would also offer significant opportunities for retired Coalition types, without affecting their munificent pension perks.

    John Hayward

  23. Bob Kendra

    November 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you Kim Booth for your gesture. You are at least making some noise, but where is your leader on this? Why isn’t Nick McKim not only jumping up and down but taking drastic action?

    Why isn’t Nick McKim telling Lara Giddings that the Greens will bring a vote of no confidence in the State Government if it supports this federal subsidy?

    Why isn’t Adam Brandt telling the Liberals that the Greens will do everything in their power to block subsidizing the pulp mill. That must include forcing a State election if the subsidies are approved.

    Kim Booth, we know your heart isn’t in the pulp mill, but you remain in a government that stills pumps for it.

    Your leader isn’t saying much. Is that because he still backs the agreements that allowed the pulp mill for years?

    Here we go Nick McKim!!! The feds are kicking the pulp mill back to life! It’s on The Examiner’s front page again! You would like us to blame Lara, the feds, Abetz, Dean, anybody but you.

    But Nick, you alone could have killed off the filthy pulp mill. Stone dead! Three years ago! You alone could have denied any suggestion of a social licence with much more clout than any ENGO. You could have pre-empted all of the stuff that has kept the project on the books since the initial Statement of Principles paved the way for claims of a social licence.

    Now, at this late stage, the only act that could carry enough weight to kill off the social licence (and the mill) is to force an early election if these subsidies are approved.

    Never mind how people vote on the mill as a key election issue. Both major parties are in favour, but if the Greens show the guts to force an election, their vote will be revived and greatly increased.

    The noise leading up to a forced election and the interstate and overseas interest provoked will carry enough baggage to snuff any social licence.

    There is nothing to lose, Nick and Kim. Hodgman will sweep to power anyway. The reserves (and much of the World Heritage listed this year) will be history. Anything for the environment in the forests agreement and bill will be dead meat with the Liberals governing at federal and state level.

    As things stand Nick McKim, you will be remembered for plastic bags and your defacto backing for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill by endorsing the TFA!

    Despite uttering the right words, your defacto backing will be remembered, too, Kim Booth. You make a noise now and again, but remain in government with Labor and in the party that never killed off the pulp mill when it had every chance.

    They won’t be nice memories – unless you show some principles Nick and Kim!

  24. TV Resident

    November 26, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    The federal liberals don’t give a damn about the ‘general’ public, they have already proven that the only ones they consider worthwhile are their elite, rich cronies. I am sure there will be outrage if the parliamentary idiots succeed in channelling any more of the taxpayers money into this filthy excuse for ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’. Way too much has already been wasted on them trying to keep the now obsolete ‘bankrupt’ Gunns afloat.

  25. Basil Fitch

    November 26, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    Find it absolutely amazing that The Examiner can run a Front Page story, with half page font size headlines, also to be (cont. page 5). Then page 5 continues with another nearly 1/3 page plus photo, no less.

    Yes their bias is plain and simply for all to see.

    Anything negative, nothing, zilch, then a hint of Korda Mentha activating this or that, or Fed ‘assistant ministers’ on our doorstep sniffing for media coverage, with no less than media savvy Mr. Nikolic it makes Front Page News!!! Too coincidental. Shame….

    Double shame when it pushes to Page 2 a story from United Nations Refugee Agency slamming Aust.’s treatment of asylum seekers.

    And to Page 4 the fact that, ‘Pyne’s revamp may be costly for state’s schools’, questioning just how many $millions less may be coming to Tasmanian schools.

    Don’t think the electorate will be fooled so easily by your pro Liberal reporting. Basil

  26. Barbara Mitchell

    November 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I recall that KordaMentha announced in September that they were delaying the marketing of the pulp mill project until a state government audit of the available plantation estate was completed. Results were not expected for several months ( see ABC online http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-29/pulp-mill-project-sale-delay/4987650 ).

    Since the permits were put on the market only a month after this proposal was reported, are we to assume that the plantation audit was completed? If it was, what were the results? I’m sure prospective purchasers would be interested.

    Or was the whole thing moved promptly to the ‘too hard’ basket by a less than diligent government, leaving the liquidators to rely on politically motivated Liberal party spin, and ambiguous promises to ‘de-risk’ the project (is that even a proper word?) in order to sell Gunns’ blighted lemon?

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