TAP meets monthly
THE NEXT TAP MEETING IS TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 9 AT WINDSOR PARK RIVERSIDE
TAP meets monthly
THE NEXT TAP MEETING IS TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 9 AT WINDSOR PARK RIVERSIDE
TAP is not an environment group and is not politically-aligned. We have fought successfully for 8 years to stop Gunns and the State and Federal Governments from building a 1.1million tonnes PA pulp mill in a valley that is home to 100,000 people on the island of Tasmania. TAP was the first group to oppose a pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. We were originally called TRAC which became TAP Into A Better Tasmania. TAP was also the first community group in Tasmania to oppose industrial tree plantations. TAP has prevailed over almost insurmountable odds to prevent dangerous, corrupt and irresponsible people from destroying the Tamar Valley. TAP uses imaginative and bold actions to defend Tasmania from Gunns, their successors and their political cronies. TAP provides a stimulating informaton forum in the Tamar Valley.
Left: Abandoned Pulp Mill Site Community Forest Restoration Project by TAP March 2011.
TAP Media Release July 10 2014
TAP Into a Better Tasmania has suggested a use for the Long Reach site where Gunns Ltd had once planned to build a pulp mill.
At its July meeting, TAP declared that the site could be used to build a prison in which to lock up the thousands of Tasmanians who would be prepared to infringe the State Government’s new anti-protest legislation.
TAP’s media spokesperson, Tim Thorne, said, “The Liberal Party’s rhetoric before the last election said, nonsensically, that they would bring in a law against illegal protests, while lawful protests would continue to be allowed.
“The bill rushed through the House of Assembly goes much further than this, providing for powers of arrest without a warrant, and making it possible to interpret anywhere in the state as a ‘workplace’,” Mr Thorne said.
“History has shown that Tasmanians in their thousands have been prepared to do what this bill is trying to prevent. TAP believes that they will do so again where necessary to prevent the destruction of our environment, our rights and our democracy,” he continued. “The Legislative Council should have the common sense to throw this ridiculous, but dangerous, bill out.”
TAP Media Spokesman Tim Thorne.
|The announcement that Gunns Ltd's receivers, KordaMentha, have sold most of the failed company's remaining assets to New Forests for a price reported to be $330 million reveals a telling feature of how big business operates.|
When Gunns went into receivership it owed secured creditors (of whom the ANZ bank was the largest) $635.9 million. Last year Anchorage Capital bought 70 per cent of this debt at a price believed to be between 40 and 45 cents in the dollar, an outlay of approximately $189 million. Seventy per cent of the sale price is $231 million, which would leave Anchorage with a tidy $42 million profit, less whatever fees they paid KordaMentha.
Nobody as yet has secured the pulp mill site or permits. New Forests obviously wasn't interested, despite the unseemly haste with which the State Government and the then Opposition (now the Government) rushed to pass legislation designed (at KordaMentha's request) to enhance the value of those assets. Anchorage Capital might still want to squeeze more profit out of these, but even if they lie idle until the permits run out and the site reverts to bush, $42 million is not a bad profit after six months. It makes John Gay's gain from insider trading look like chickenfeed.
And what exactly did Anchorage do to earn this? They didn't employ a single Tasmanian. They didn't create a single product or provide a single service. The kindest thing to say about them is that they got lucky. Not so lucky were the Tasmanian contractors, small investors and other unsecured creditors who have no hope of ever seeing the $170 million owed to them when Gunns Ltd collapsed.
This whole saga has not been primarily about a pulp mill, nor even about the plantations. It has been about the timber industry being used as a front for the transfer of wealth from ordinary Tasmanians to the coffers of international finance corporations. It has also been about how both major political parties have aided and abetted this transfer. Don't forget that a considerable proportion of Gunns' assets were provided in various ways by the State and Federal Governments. This means that some of your money, as a taxpayer, now belongs to the shareholders of Anchorage Capital.
Yours in the hope that we can do better than this in the future
On January 29, 2014 the Legislative Council ignored TAP's letter (below) and passed the KordaMentha bill that enshrined perverting the course of justice, conflicts of interest and destroying the 'separation of powers' between the state and the legal system.
This is another watershed moment in a corrupt process spanning almost a decade. It doesn't matter how hard they try to pervert justice and ethical values, all they ever end-up with is a vacant lot a Longreach.
Who supported the corrupt bill? Left to Right top. Ruth Forrest, Ivan Dean, Leonie Hiscutt, Greg Hall, Paul Harriss (accepted gifts from Ta Ann), Tania Rattray, Craig Farrell (ex-Dick Adams staffer), Vanessa Goodwin, Adriana Taylor and 'The Flying Dutchman' Teunis (Tony) Mulder. It's not only TAP who has slammed this law. Law lecturer Michael Stokes has called the law is illegal.
Honourable Member of the Legislative Council,
The Membership of TAP into a Better Tasmania respectfully request that you will reject the Pulp Mill Assessment Amendment Act 2014 .
As a non-party political community group, we are opposed to the Act because
It corrupts the proper relationship between the legislative and judicial arms of Government.
It turns the legislature into an instrument of offshore business interests instead of an instrument of the will of the people of Tasmania.
It exposes Tasmania to unforseen and potentially endless litigation at public expense.
We appeal to the Legislative Council to uphold the dignity of the Tasmanian Parliament in the face of this attempt to debase our lawmaking process.
President of TAP into a Better Tasmania
The Launceston Examiner claims Gunns receiver KordaMentha asked Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings to recall parliament to quash a legal challenge to Gunns pulp mill. This is a blatant attempt to 'pervert the course of justice' in our opinion. KordaMentha nearly always work with PPB Advisory as a 'tag team' specialising in the alleged theft of huge amounts of money owed to unsecured creditors. Now KordaMentha are trying to manipulate Tasmania's parliament and further corrupt the island's legal system. It can be revealed the 'Review Into Hardwood Plantations' chaired by Martin Ferguson was actually a diversion of public funds to assist KordaMentha sell Gunns permit. This is an attempt by KordaMentha to divert yet more public money into the pockets of the bloated bankers they work for. Bankers who make a profit of $4billion a year while many Tasmanians languish on interminable elective surgery waiting lists thanks to inept Premier Giddings and opposition leader Hodgman. TAP spent years warning ASIC that Gunns were trading while insolvent but were ignored. Now ASIC's 'sacred cow' KordaMentha is carrying on where the Gunns board left off. Writing legislation for the Tasmanian Parliament and faxing it to the salivating Hodgman and Giddings.
KORDAMENTHA'S AMMENDMENT TO THE PULP MILL ASSESSMENT ACT SECTION 11 KordaMentha has re-written legislation originally written by Gunns. Download their letter to Lara Giddings here.
Will Hodgman, the Hobart solicitor who has never had a real job in his life, is basing his 2014 quest for premier of Tasmania on a failed project by a failed company. Hodgman's best thinking is using Tasmanians as victims of a small-minded, corrupt plan to pretend Australia is still competitive in manufacturing. Let's hope Hodgman gets pressured by some real political competion in the 2014 election? Tasmania has been the victim of shallow, infantile policy of the kind peddled by Hodgman and his party of vacuuous yes-men for too long.
TAP's Christmas BBQ this year was held at 4pm Saturday December 7 2013 at Punchbowl Reserve Launceston at the BBQ area. The weather was perfect.
TAP WARNS POTENTIAL PERMIT BUYER - EXPECT TROUBLE.
Gunns' receivers KordaMentha have flown in Timo Piilonen from Finland to help them unload the pulp mill concept. Timo spent time at Gunns from early 2010 trying to get the mill off the ground. The Examiner claims KordaMentha will bundle the supposed mill site, the expired permits that include pending litigation, and the plantations and ask for expressions of interst. Gunns' liquidators PPB Advisory are offering the plantations along with the KordaMentha-Gunns assets. TAP was told by KordaMentha in June that Gunns also has a patent for sale. Gunns forest manager Simon Cook from Gunns 233B Charles Street Launceston office initially told TAP the patent was for 'tree breeding' but now denies the patent exists. Piilonen is a director of Finnish pulp mill builder UPM. Kordamentha and UPM are hoping for as much government finance as possible to offset the astronomical Australian construction and labour costs. A cost estimate of building a large pulp mill in the Tamar Valley has now exceeded $4 billion AUD including the Gunns assets. Any buyer will be processing the most expensive tree plantations on earth in the most expensive pulp mill on earth with the worlds highest labour costs. And yet the world paper market is in sharp decline with the advent of ereaders and smart phones?
TAP has lodged a grievance with FSC Australia concerning the industry front group 'Timber Communities Australia'. Because TCA is 'more than 95% funded by the logging industry' we have said they are an astroturf organisation and should not be in the Social Chamber of FSC Australia. TAP is a member of the Social Chamber and are 100% funded by the community. Thats how it should be. Our grievance highlights shortcomings and probably 'conflicts of interest' in the Tasmanian Forest Agreement 2013. Five FSC-AUS members negotiated a law that said Forestry Tasmania must get FSC certificaction or forests will not be 'reserved'. As you can see the industry makes-up 69% of FSC-AUS members. Now the industry has blackmailed the Ecological Chamber and tried to stack the Social Chamber with groups like TCA. Another Social Chamber group 'ForestWorks is a front for the CFMEU. In our opinion FSC-AUS is simply the logging industry certifying itself. This is a disgrace. We say the actions of current FSC-AUS chairman Jim Adams and the previous chairman Sean Cadman in assisting Forestry Tasmania get FSC certification breaks the Principles of FSC in both spirit and substance. As a result TAP and other groups chose to boycott this years FSC confernece in Melbourne on May 29. TAP would like to see the whole of Tasmania achieve a credible FSC certification with modern selective harvesting practices, the full protection of threatened species and complete community involvement at every step of the way. Instead we got secret deals between groups who are nearly all FSC-AUS members to help the industry rubber-stamp its own operations and continue its old unsustainable practices. FSC-AUS must be reformed.
We were all shocked at the
sudden passing of Robert McMahon or Bob as we all knew him. Bob
passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday
April 17 2013. Bob was there at the beginning and we don't think
anybody has done more for the Tamar Valley or even Tasmania than Bob
Bob was a legend and he will be sorely missed. He has left a massive legacy of honesty, intelligence, and the love of nature in its wild and untamed form.
He had the courage to stare down the small-minded and self-interested who tried to profit at our expense. Bob wanted the best for Tasmania and everybody that was fortunate enough to meet him.
CREDITORS have voted to liquidate failed Tasmanian timber company Gunns. About 80 people owed money by the former timber giant attended a second creditors meeting in Launceston today, organised by administrator PBB Advisory. "The creditors resolved unanimously to wind up the Gunns group of companies," PPB's Daniel Bryant told reporters. Mr Bryant said PPB, now the liquidator, would examine whether recovery could include action against former directors. Creditors had been offered little choice after a detailed report from PPB released last week found they were unlikely to see any money. The report concluded Gunns has debts of about $3 billion and recommended liquidation. It said workers' entitlements, totalling about $10 million, would be paid.
Bob McMahon vowed a pulp mill would never happen in Tasmania.
When Bob McMahon saw the environmental havoc caused by a pulp mill in Chile he vowed it wouldn't happen in Tasmania.
AT THE height of the Tasmanian pulp mill protest, Bob McMahon's phone would start ringing at 6am and wouldn't stop until midnight. McMahon was the go-to man everyone would call about the $2.3 billion project at Bell Bay first proposed in 2004 by the giant timber company, Gunns.
Back then, the project was hailed by federal government, with then prime minister John Howard pledging to throw in $5 million as a pre-election sweetener. Opposition leader Mark Latham also backed the mill as a big plus for the island state's environment and economy. The Tasmanian government welcomed it, as did the Chamber of Commerce, but McMahon's small band of protesters - under the banner of TAP (Tasmanians Against the Pulp mill) - would not go away and their campaign became one of the longest and most divisive in Australian history.
Tasmanians protest against the pulp mill.
McMahon's wife, Susie, says her husband became the voice of the protest movement because he could ''think on his feet''. She recalls the media would often ring early in the morning and McMahon would ''get straight out of bed, open his eyes and give a quote that made sense''.
Their Launceston home became TAP campaign headquarters and month after month, year after year, the couple became a contact point for the community. McMahon, a rock-climbing instructor, grew from a crowd-shy outdoors bloke, a former kid with a stutter, to a leader who addressed hundreds of rallies and meetings so effectively that the 137-year-old Gunns company, also plagued by dropping pulp prices and the high Australian dollar, eventually buckled.