Updated: September 26, 2012
Gunns goes into administration while forest negotiations need clarification
Few would have missed the news this week that Gunns has gone into
voluntary administration after announcing a $904m loss in the last
We have never campaigned for the collapse of Gunns, rather the end to their destructive logging in native forests and the abandonment of the Tamar valley pulp mill project. We fully back calls for workers, contractors and other affected parties to be supported through this administration process.
This outcome demonstrates the risks associated with bulldozing ahead with massive industrial projects in the face of environmental issues, community opposition and a discredited assessment process. Similarly, Woodside should sit up and take notice of the demise of Gunns as they ignore strong community opposition to their proposed gas hub in the Kimberley.
While approval permits can be sold, they are subject to legal challenge by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. To sell them on would commit the Tamar Valley to ongoing uncertainty and continued conflict.
Administrators now have the opportunity to resolve the controversy over the pulp mill by abandoning the project altogether. The Wilderness Society is calling for the cancellation of further relevant approvals and to put this divisive and damaging issue to bed once and for all.
Forest negotiations clarification needed
There has also been recent controversy between environmental groups around the decision to write to Japanese customers of Ta Ann, a veneer processor of native forest currently coming from controversial sources.
The Wilderness Society wrote to the Japanese customers to advise on developments in the Tas Forests negotiations and asked that, in order to give those negotiations the space and best chance of success they not make any decisions that could adversely affect Tasmanian suppliers. This is consistent with public statements made when the negotiations commenced.
The 'ask' is entirely in the context of negotiations, for the duration of the negotiations. It is not a blank cheque or endorsement of logging in Tasmania but a call to give space for negotiations to proceed.
Earlier in the year the cancellation of Ta Ann contracts had earlier seriously destabilised the potential for negotiations. It gave an excuse to industry representatives to hold off on negotiating and a range of other players to up the ante and point the finger at environmentalists. It also saw 12 Upper House members line up on parliament house lawns and condemn conservationists, negotiations and forests protection.
We continue to believe the negotiations are the best way to deliver forest protection and these letters are an attempt to demonstrate our commitment. Further cancellations would give industry and others every excuse necessary to abandon the talks and throw away the opportunities of the negotiations, blaming environmentalists on the way.
Of course if the negotiations fail and agreed forests are not protected, TWS would be obliged to write back to those same customers informing them the negotiations have collapsed and they are indeed receiving controversial timber from iconic forests in Tasmania.
For more information, please contact:
The Wilderness Society Tasmania Inc
130 Davey Street, TAS, 7000 Australia
Phone: (03) 6224 1550 | Fax: (03) 6223 5112