Mr L'Estrange who is striving for a cuddlier image than previous CEO John Gay will no doubt play down the personal financial incentive involved in building the unpopular mill project instead continuing to work closely with Gunns PR to cultivate the public image of Gunns - the born again logging company, getting out of native forests into our hearts .
If' the Gunns logging company's myopic and selfish pulp obsession had not inflicted so much hardship and anxiety on so many good and decent residents and business people in the Tamar Valley this ridiculously drawn out saga could be laughed off as high farce.
Despite the Tasmanian Government's chronic state of denial, Gunns proposed pulp mill continues to poison and overhang Tasmania's social and political fabric and is still the most likely issue in Tasmania to derail the Labor/Green government.
Gunns insist on building a mill that was pulled from Tasmania's statutory planning process through a brazen act of corporate and political trickery. A special pulp mill act was then drafted by the government with the help of gunns lawyers and then rubber stamped in the parliament by Tasmania's big political parties both of whom have a sordid history of subservience and cosy allegiance to Tasmania's biggest company.
In a paper presented to the Australian Public Sector Anti-Corruption Conference 2009 Tom Baxter, Lecturer at the School of Accounting and Corporate Governance, University of Tasmania and Roland Browne of Fitzgerald and Browne Solicitors stated,
..."The resource curse is generally associated with non-industrialised economies. In such a nation, a government might agree to a corporation’s demand to change the law to facilitate the approval of a major project. Regrettably, however, such scenarios are not uncommon in Tasmania.
In a current example, Gunns Limited, in its quest to build a pulp mill in northern Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, has caused a statutory process to be swept aside and replaced with project-specific State legislation. The only difference between the Tasmanian response to Gunns’ demands and that of the developing economy’s government in the example above is in the speed of response: in Tasmania, the Government agreed apparently overnight to change the law. In developing countries it takes a little longer".
The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Tasmanians loathe Gunns, loathe the proposed pulp mill and if Gunns attempt to construct the project it will be plagued by protest, lawsuits and if opponents are true to their word the area in the iconic Tamar Valley near the mill will resemble a protesters war zone similar to the border of Argentina and Uruguay (since the contstruction of the divisive and unpopular Botnia Pulp Mill in Frey Bentos).
Gunns and the Tasmanian Government are acutely aware of this yet continue to ignore local communities intense and sustained dissatisfaction with being forced to host the massive project.
Despite the best wishes of the Gunns and the Tasmanian logging industry The Wilderness Society remains implacably opposed to the project and has vowed to continue its campaign against the project alonsgside community groups in the Tamar Valley.
Yet Gunns continue to ignore and steamroll the stakeholder communities and businesses in the Tamar Valley.
In their quest to retire debt and reposition their bottom line for a pulp mill financier Gunns have recently slashed more long term local jobs than the pulp mill will provide for local tasmanians. Today the project is thought of as liable to cost Tasmania more than it will benefit the state and as such is less welcome than ever.
The Gunns Pulp Mill is now the final barrier to peace between the big logging company and the Tasmanian community. Gunns know this, Tasmanians and our politicians know this. For Gunns and their friends in the Tasmanian parliament to continue pushing this project whilst running a parallel PR campaign professing a desire to end Tasmania's so called "forest wars" is typical of the tricky approach the Gunns logging company has taken in public relations. However Australians are not prone to being fooled easily and continue to regard the proposed Tamar Valley project as a selfish, irresponsible and ultimately illegitimate venture.
............and from the papers..............mercury and smh
Read more about why the proposed Gunns/joint foreign owned pulp mill is so on the nose with most Australians See "Reading Link" below in next blog entry