More grist for Gunns pulp millFrom The Australian - Matthew Denholm, Tasmania correspondent From: The Australian May 14, 2010 12:00AMA COMPROMISE on the Gunns pulp mill will be on the table at proposed formal negotiations between conservationists and Tasmania's timber industry.
Elements of both camps appear willing to discuss the stalled, $2.5 billion mill as part of historic negotiations, revealed by The Australian yesterday, seeking a solution to the decades-long conflict.
Forest Industries Association of Tasmania chief executive Terry Edwards yesterday said the future of the Tamar Valley mill "absolutely" needed to be part of the negotiations.
"We would like to see one of the outcomes of the discussions (being) a pulp mill that is supported by all players," Mr Edwards told The Australian. "These discussions are going to have to require compromise.
"To date all of the compromises have come from the industry side: the FSC certification that Gunns has talked about, the move to plantation-only feedstock."
Some mill opponents, such as businessman Geoffrey Cousins, have indicated a willingness to swing behind the project if Gunns refreshes its boards and adopts Forest Stewardship Council accreditation and total chlorine-free bleaching.
The location of the proposed but stalled project in the Tamar Valley, home to an emerging wine and tourism industry, would remain a stumbling block.
Labor Premier David Bartlett yesterday warned that the industry, struggling to survive a deep and protracted downturn, "must change" to survive.
He will meet industry representatives today and is expected to be asked to fund an independent mediator and the provision of independent data to serve as the basis for broader talks.
"Our industry is approaching crisis," Mr Bartlett said. "If we are to have an ongoing place in world markets for our forestry products, we have to change.
"I am determined to lead the way so that in years . . . to come we have a forest industry that is strong and sustainable."