Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gunns Logging company sends in PR firm to do dirty work. Tamar Locals go on the front how Gunns PR people regard pulp mill opponents and strategies used by corporate PR firms

A company called Pax Populus acting on behalf of Gunns LTD, has very recently begun contacting key stakeholders opposed to Gunns proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Along with Tim Offor (the author of The Public and “Not in My Backyard” - Strategies for Engaging Angry Communities -Here ) Barbara Sharp serves as a director of Pax Populus which is the new version of 'Offor Sharp and Associates management and communication consultancy', a company that formerly advised on some of the region’s toughest stakeholder issues for the past 15 years.

Word is Barbara Sharp will be in Tasmania next Thurs and Friday in an attempt to interview individuals, Tamar Valley anti-pulp mill groups like TAP, Friends of the Tamar, Pulp the Mill and other key stakeholders opposed to Gunns proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Apparently Barbara will be aiming to do around three dozen interviews during her short stay. Geez i'd hate to be the last interview!
However the Pax Populus Tassie PR drive may not be as busy as Barbara Sharp might have anticipated.
Apparently Sharp's initial advances have been met with a fair degree of cynicism and suspicion from battle hardened Tamar Valley locals. Word is locals are insulted that after 6 years Gunns management still refuse to speak to locals directly and that despite Managing Director Greg L'Estranges attempts to cultivate the image of a cuddlier logging company, Gunns continue to prefer propaganda and slick, expensive PR over genuine bilateral discussions with the Tasmanian people.
Pax Populus under their previous brand of Offor Sharpe and Associates played a part in Gunns’ IIS.
In their research Offor Sharp and Associates conducted a whopping 5 face to face interviews with residents at Rowella and 5 telephone interviews with local government etc.
See links for more info.


MEDIA RELEASE- Pulp the Mill.
Last week, Lucy Landon-Lane (spokeswoman for Pulp the Mill) was contacted by “Social Sustainability Advisors” firm Pax Populus on behalf of Gunns, requesting a interview as part of a series of meetings with members of the public about the proposed pulp mill.
“When I questioned the firm about the nature of the interview, who was to be involved and what questions would be asked, I was told emphatically that these details were not available to me. When discussing the fact that this firm, under its previous name of Offor Sharp and Associates, had been involved in Gunns Integrated Impact Statement, I enquired why only 10 people had then been interviewed. I politely noted that this number was hardly sufficient for best practice and was met with outright anger.
“I have decided to boycott the meeting with Pax Populus because the time to consult with the community was back when the project was being assessed by the RPDC. Gunns withdrew from the RPDC process when the project was deemed “critically non-compliant” in areas of social and environmental impacts. Withdrawal from the RPDC and subsequent creation of the Pulp Mill Assessment Act (PMAA) removed all legitimacy from the proposed mill. Without due diligence and an independent and thorough assessment process, and honest actions by the company to address social concerns there will never be a social licence for this mill. No amount of community consultations will change that. These current interviews are another example of a lack of transparent process that Gunns chooses to undertake.
“Gunns has an unfortunate history of corporate dishonesty, and this clearly is another token effort that does not meet best practice. Gunns need to understand that there are no grounds for the community to compromise on this issue, and there is no reason to meet with Pax Populus. When Gunns takes real action to address the community’s concerns (which have been totally ignored over the past 5 years), and the PMAA is repealed, I will be willing to engage.” she said.

for more information contact Lucy Landon-Lane 0417 105390


  1. Well done Lucy, Gunns had the chance to include this community in the debate at the outset and I well remember the aggressive attitude of both Premier Paul Lennon and John Gay when we wanted to talk and they attempted to steam roll the community. You are quite correct, the time for talk has passed and this community will not accept this stinking mill under any circumstances.

  2. Stephani of RowellaDecember 13, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    The No Pulp Mill meeting a couple of weeks ago has obviously got Gunns rattled but they did not listen. They need to engage with the community not hire some slick PR firm who openly boasts, on their website, about their ability to soothe the savage NIMBY's.
    We will not engage in their games. They have had 6 years to listen to us and chose not to. They even abandoned the RPDC process and ignored most of our submissions into which a lot of work had gone.
    Gunns I have been yelling at the top of my lungs for 6 years via RPDC submissions, rallies, talkback radio, newspaper letters, meeting politicians, writing to politicians, asking pollies why they approved the PMAA (and getting threatened with contempt for doing so), taking afore mentioned pollies to court and finally getting arrested on the stepas of parliament with 56 other peaceful protesters. Now you say you are willing to listen. WTF have you been doing for the last 6 years?

  3. Get rid of the PMAA and the not needed native forest wood supply deals, and we'll talk then.