Friday, June 11, 2010

Must watch video's on Gunns & the pulp mill.

Check out these two Lateline pieces from last night: Community consultation the way forward:
Gunns could have changed business practices:Cousins
Bloggers note.
Today Senator Brown told the Tasmanian media a pulp mill in a different location with a different pulping process could possibly get the backing of the community.
Aunty (ABC) deserves a rebuke for its mischievous reporting of Senator Brown's comments.
In news reports today the ABC demonstrated that it is not averse to tabloid style reporting by consistently omitting the key point that Senator Brown opposes a mill in the Tamar Valley.
Clearly Aunty was more interested in running provocative headlines.

Indeed, I recently wrote to Senator Browns office seeking clarification on the Australians Green position on the Proposed mill and recieved the reply below which states..... "Senator Brown’s position has always been very clear that he does not support a pulp mill of any sort in the Tamar Valley, due to the social and environmental issues. "The Greens, both State and Federal, have said that they would only support a pulp mill that passed both environmental (closed loop, plantation based, chlorine free) and social (accepted by the local community) criteria. Again this totally rules out the Tamar Valley as a suitable site".
I have also recieved the same assurance from The Tasmanian Greens and the Wilderness society via Paul Oosting the wildo's Pulp Mill campaign manager who was featured in last nights lateline interview.

Pulp Mill opponents should take comfort in the fact that Geoffrey Cousins is in part being guided by the advice of Senator Brown & the wilderness society, whom cousins describes as "extremely effective. This was apparent in the lateline interview.

It was significant that Cousins stated that the company (sodra) Gunns had cited as a "potential" pulp mill joint venture parther "had told him that the standards the Australian government were applying to proposed mill are not good enough"......
...."and you know, the Australian Government at the time came out and said, “This is going to be world’s best practice.” The Opposition didn’t question that.

This company has said to me directly, Sodra, they have said through a representative, they wouldn’t build a mill to the standards that the Australian Government approved. They are just not good enough.
That’s the level of our politics. It is a pretty shameful thing and as I say, it’s taken the efforts of a lot of people, many of whom have been involved in these issues an awful lot longer than I have, to get this done where the politicians turned their backs on it" (Geoff Cousins)

This raises a few questions. Have Gunns now sacked Sodra as they did the RPDC for not giving the company the answers it wanted?
Also, if Sodra says the proposed mill isnt up to standard then who exactly are Gunns three new potential equity participants in Southern Star corporation (the company established to build & operate the bell bay pulp mill (  as per todays asx announcement)?
Are Gunns seeking to lower the bar that Sodra may have wanted to set?

Cousins comments about the State & Federal Governments are also damning.
The Tasmanian government & opposition's complete failure in the five & a half years of the pulp mill proposal to progress its monologue to something more sophisticated  than "We support a worlds best practice pulp mill in the Tamar valley & we support downstream processing" shows their complete disregard of constituents & shareholders, the Tasmanian taxpayer.
No foresight, no use its legislative powers and influence to guide Gunns towards a sustainable triple bottom line. Rather than acting as an agent for change and peace in the forest, & in the Tamar Valley, the Tasmanian government & opposition have never ceased to treat the pulp mill & forest conflicts as sites from which political advantaged can be leveraged.
Both Liberal and Labor have been completely reckless and lacking in any vision in relation to the mill and Gunns can thank their parliamentary friends for helping take the company to the brink during what has been a disasterous backward slide for Tamania's largest Company.

What the Tasmanian & Australian Government's & Gunns now need to work through is how they come to terms with the fact that the relationship between the proposed Tamar Valley mill and the Tasmanian comunity is irreconcilably damaged and if, where & when a pulp mill in Tasmanian is still viable.



  1. Thanks Pilko. Just to clarify the issue of a Greens/Wildos deal, Cousins statement implied that (a) senior Wildo had spoken as if Gunns, if it pulled out of native forests would get TWS supoort for a Tamar mill providing it was TCF. Coming from Cousins' mouth it implied a deal. However, I note that the way you represent Paul Oosting's position is different from Cousin's - in that it it includes mention of any mill proposal having to gain community approval. This is one element of a position which effectively rules out a mill ever in the Tamar. Something that you pointed out in your article above. I think the Wildo position that you mention is just as Paul eplained a yer or so ago. Have you been in contact with Paul recently?

  2. Thanks Garry.
    Can you show me where Cousins said this?
    Was it in the Lateline interview. I have watched it and reread the transcript and there is nothing there to suggest Cousins and the wildo's have done a deal to end native forests and give Gunns a Tamar mill. Garry this theory has been around for a while now having been generated on TT. I note that usual suspects are at it again, ganshing their teeth and tearing their hair out, convinced that they been sold out.
    I spoke to a very reliable source yesterday who told me Cousins is not backing a Tamar Valley mill. As i said, he is being guided by brown who also remains implaccably opposed to the Tamar mill. As do Oosting and the Wildo's including Vica Bayley who i note has been accused of being part of this conspiracy on TT.
    I will chat to Paul Oosting and Vica again this week.

  3. Hi Pilko
    yes there's a bit in the Lateline interview where Cousins suggests the Wildos intimated they could support a TCF mill if Gunns got out of native forests. I reproduce it here:

    "That was not the case. The Wilderness Society were entirely professional. They put their case, they said “if you get FSC certification, if you agree not to log the high conservation areas” - things of this kind - “if the mill can be re looked at and can be a totally chlorine free mill” - all the things we talked about early in the piece - “we will say this is positive, we will move to help you get what is called a social licence to operate.” "

    Now Pilko, I realise this is just Cousins' take and as evidence it is no more than anecdotal, but it doesn't sound too good. I'd like Paul to reiterate the TWS position on the mill and to comment on Cousins' remarks.

  4. I can guarantee you that Oositing and Vica Bailey who represent both factions of TWS Have not flipped on the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill.
    The Wildo's have always maintained opposition to this mill. There been no official announcement to the contrary be it organisational or personal. I think any fears of something contrary are borne out of media mischief making and our own insecuties.
    I have provided clear evidence that Senator Brown and the Greens feel the same.
    I dont know what more I can offer in the way of assurances. Perhaps try ringing the Wildo's your self Gaz.
    p.s thanks for supporting the blog.

  5. Lazy journalism on the part of Tony Eastley
    triggered a panic attack in the Tamar Valley. Eastley failed to ask Cousins what pulp mill he was referring to. Everybody assumed it was the only pulp mill passed by the State and Federal governments, and the only one on Gunns books. People were unable to channel the 'official' double-sided TWS line that they are assessing another Gunns pulp mill somewhere else in Tasmania. The only place that comes close to revealing that information is this blog. Can you blame the punters? Its hard to just 'get it' when all the clues are as obvious as a geocaching game.

  6. Thanks for you comments councillor Stevens.
    Controversial comments considering you are an elected Tasmanian Greens public official, having also stood for the Tasmanian Greens at the last state election in Lyons.
    Karl you say "People were unable to channel the 'official' double-sided TWS line that they are assessing another Gunns pulp mill somewhere else in Tasmania. The only place that comes close to revealing that information is this blog".
    You seem to be suggesting here that TWS are "assessing" another Gunns Pulp Mill somewhere else in Tasmania". I'm not sure what was said on this blog that has "revealed this to you". Perhaps you could point it out to me as it may have slipped by me.
    You have been making similar allegations against TWS for quite a while now and you may or may not have realised but you are probably the only commentator in the land to be suggesting such a theory. Perhaps you are privy to information that the rest of us are not.
    Nevertheless Karl your comments are highly provocative especially considering you no longer just represent yourself when you make public comments. Indeed, as a local Greens member with a profile and a well known senior member of TAP surely you realise your comments are bound to reflect on the organisatiosn you represent & liable to elicit a negative reaction. Do you not feel any resposnibility to the other members of your party to be a little more careful when casting aspersions on other individuals and groups in the public domain?
    Ineed, Karl you are also a Committee member of anti-mill group TAP.
    Are you not concerned that your comments may damage the relationship between groups that are traditional allies, especially in relation to the proposed Tamar Valley Pulp Mill?
    Do you not feel any responsibility to resolve your personal policy differences privately with TWS and have you attempted to do this?
    Thanks for supporting the blog Karl.
    Your comments are always welcome.

  7. Relax Pilko. I'm no TWS hater. The Cousins statement that got local residents worried was this one:
    "The Wilderness Society were entirely professional. They put their case, they said “if you get FSC certification, if you agree not to log the high conservation areas” - things of this kind - “if the mill can be re looked at and can be a totally chlorine free mill” - all the things we talked about early in the piece - “we will say this is positive, we will move to help you get what is called a social licence to operate.”
    This seemed to be a quantum leap for an environmental group. A question I would ask you Rick, as a local is this one: Do you think removing Gay & Gray from the board was a big advance given they had almost bankrupted the company? Now Gunns shares have risen and its seems Cousins has got a new board, new company and a new pulp mill.

  8. Thanks Karl. Yes it worried SOME local residents. It didnt worry me for the reasons i outlined in my article above. Cousins is largely being guided by the leader of your party who tells me and everyone else he and the state and federal party are opposed to the proposed mill. Karl as for you not being a TWS hater. Well Karl you are now an experienced and seasoned politician and you would understand that your constituents are going to judge you by your actions. So when you make the public utterances you have made recently about TWS and its senior personnel, people will naturally assume you are infact a TWS hater. Now Karl when you have answered the questions I put to you in response to your first comment then I will reciprocate and answer yours. Sound fair?

  9. Sure. In order to give a Gunns pulp mill a social license to operate, TWS would have to do an assessment.
    Thats only reasonable given the type of industry they are dealing with. You say "The Wildo's have always maintained opposition to THIS mill." Therefore TWS must have to carry out an assessment on a different Gunns pulp mill. This was arrived at by a process of deduction. You don't seem to accept this form of reasoning. I have decided not to get into too much minutiae on a blog site that can be changed easily. I would put it to you Rick and any readers that shutting-down all debate on the group that Cousins has claimed is 'getting a social license to operate' for a mill somewhere in Tasmania is pretty extreme. I don't have any more questions so I'm going to leave it there.

  10. Karl i will address your points one by one.
    1. You have not answered the question or provided evidence re the allegation you made that TWS are assessing an alternative Gunns Pulp Mill in Tasmania and that my blog is somehow privy to this plan. There is nothing evidence based, nor other serious commentator out there in the public domain that supports this theory. I have repeatedly asked you and others who are feeding you this mischief for evidence however I am yet to see anything.
    If you were to attempt to prosecute your theory in a court of law i think it would be thrown out before it was even given a preliminary hearing. A court of law would not find in your favour Karl because YOU think that you have superior reasoning and powers of deduction. Your reasoning and your deductions must be evidence based. I put it to you councillor Stevens that you and your friends who are peddling this peculiar theory want the freedom to make these spurious allegation without being accountable.

    2. I do note that you appear to have now backed down on your public comments from yesterday that TWS & Geoffrey Cousins were assisting Gunns achieve a social licence for the Tamar Valley pulp mill. If you now acknowledging that these allegations were wrong would you like to use the TPOS forum to apologise to the parties whom you have offended? Here is your chance to be a peacemaker councillor Karl.
    If you are now backing down on yesterdays comments then you must admit that an acknowledgment that your comments were wrong has the added effect of diminishing your already barely credible theory about TWS being in cahutes with Gunns in an alternate Tasmanian pulp mill.

    3. As for my blog site being changeable.
    Karl I have printed every word you have sent me. As long as you dont defame people which you havent and i'm sure you wont, I will print every word you send me. I am not in the habit of editing or censoring the comments submitted to TPOS unlike some other Tasmanian websites.

    4. As for accusing me of shutting down debate. That is like accusing me the Red Cross of shutting down blood donations. Its an absurd, nonsensical & frankly mischievous suggestion. Here I am, having set up a blog, a forum where people like you and I can, as we are now, discuss these issues. My blog acts as an agent of stimulating and encouraging such debate.
    We are having the discussion now Karl. If I were to shut down my blog tomorrow then you may have a point. Trust me my blog will still be here tomorrow and your comments and the comments of others will be welcome.
    5. I think what you object to Councillor Stevens is my suggestion that because of your professional role as an elected Tasmanian Greens councillor you ought to be more prudent with your public utterances. I do not see any other Tasmanian Greens politician complaining that the parties code of conduct is an attempt to "shut them down". I am not a Greens party member. I say this to you as an observer of local politics. Indeed Karl, you can continue to say whatever you like, be it negative or positive about Green, liberal or labor party policy. I will happily publish it for you. But if you expect to do so and not be held accountable by me or any other joe punter that reads your comments then I would say that you have some very unrealistic expectations about politics.

    Indeed, I think from your recent comments on the TWS/pulp mill issue there is a clear question of political maturity. I would say the same to Labor & Liberal pollies. Indeed, Graeme 'sturgo' Sturgess had to learn the hard way from Voters and from his party that his public role and his party affiliation meant that he simply could not go around saying whatever he felt at the time. You just cant go around getting stuck into people and groups and then cry that you are being censored when people bite back.

    I think this is something you are yet to come to terms with in your role as a public official who has been elected on the ticket of a political party.

    Best wishes

    Bottom L.H.S
    Gunns are using The Wilderness Society To advertise the pulp mill. I hope you have the property on the market.

  12. Ah Karl you are such a pessimist.
    Gunns have a link to the wildo's, WWF, ET & ACF websites. Its called greenwashing and industry do it all over the world Karl.
    Most savvy banks & investors are awake up to this sort of sleazy corporate tactic.
    Do you really think the Tamar Valley pulp mill will be built?
    I dont.
    But in the interim Coucnillor Stevens we in the Tamar Valley need you, the rest of the Tasmanian Greens, TAP, the Wildo's etc to keep fighting the good fight.
    Thanks for your comments

  13. Karl Stevens, did you write the website blog piece "Simplistic Forestry Treaty"?


    Can you confirm or deny this?

    Garry Stannus.