The Beaconsfield Real Community Forum 4 October 09

Around 500 to 600 citizens came to the real Community Forum, on Sunday 4 October at the Beaconsfield Primary School and heard more than 20 speakers take the microphone against Gunns' proposed pulp mill, the corruption in Tasmanian politics, aerial spray pollution in plantations, and many more issues about the deep seated failure of government.

Armed with drums, bells, cymbals, buckets, horns, tambourines, bugles, saucepans, lids, tins, garbage bins, whistles, and anything that made a loud noise, they rose as one to create a deafening cacophony venting their anger at State Government Ministers when they arrived to "consult" the community. Twenty one were arrested for refusing to leave the grounds.

Speaking on ABC TV after the event, Premier David Bartlett claimed “I certainly support their right to peaceful protest and demonstration of that point of view. There is also a very large section of the community that recognises 40,000 new jobs.” The 40,000 jobs statistic is a brand new claim made today. Bartlett has been compelled by anger of the people to up the stakes in a game of bluff with the Tasmanian voters with his call of 40,000 new jobs.  Gunns state that only 1250 short term construction jobs and 292 long term operational jobs are required by the planned pulp mill. Bartlett's new job claim shows a desperate man making stupid mistakes.

The Real Community Forum

Come to the 'real' community forum and meet Team Bartlett and tell them what you really think.

Where: Beaconsfield Primary School, Grubb St.

When: 11am to about 4.30pm, Sunday October 4.

Why: The State Government is coming to the Beaconsfield Primary School to   "hear your ideas and listen to your views" about issues and concerns   relevant to the Tamar Valley. Most people who have applied to meet   Ministers, Members and Heads of Departments have not been granted   permission and cannot make their views known. 

Members of TAP Into A Better Tasmania see the Government's community  forum as a sham.  

The Government fully supports Gunns' planned pulp mill in the Tamar  valley despite "critical non compliance", majority opposition, a corrupted   planning process, denial of community input and promises of no more  support.  

We invite the community to join a real forum outside the Beaconsfield   Primary School to voice concerns over the biggest single threat to jobs,   clean air, health, property values, investments, and lifestyle in the Tamar  Valley, and over the risks to democracy posed by politicians who are not  interested in protecting the public. 

The Government says it wants to hear your "concerns" so here is your  chance to tell them.  

All are invited to have a say (2 mins max) on the soapbox of democracy to  the assembled crowd outside and the government on the inside. 

Sound your displeasure with the Government.

Bring your rage, bring your bells, bring you whistles, pots and pans(and ear plugs) to make a din loud enough for the  Government to really hear your "concerns" for your health, jobs and for  your future.


Click "read more" to see the magic bus time table for Beaconsfield TAP Community Forum and how to book a seat.

To W Jones, EPA, re Gunns Limited— Approval of the Draft Pulp Mill Design.

To: Environmental Protection Authority Tasmania
Mr. Warren Jones
Director of the EPA.

4th September 2009.

RE: Gunns Limited— Approval of the Draft Pulp Mill Design.

Dear Mr. Jones.

I write to you as I understand that this document has been submitted for your consideration and approval.

I wish to draw your attention to Appendix 3 of the Equator Principles (EP) document. I strongly suggest that you do not approve the Pulp Mill Design document as the statements contained in Appendix 3; the basis of the whole design is plainly erroneous.

State Government Community Forum, Beaconsfield

What: Government Ministers, Heads of Departments and local members will make themselves available to the community at Beaconsfield on Sunday 4 October.

When: 1.00pm - 4.30pm Sunday 4 Oct

Where: Beaconsfield Primary School Gym, 33 Grubb St, Beaconsfield.

The public is invited to make appointments by Friday 18 September and appointments will be confirmed Friday 25 September subject to availability.

A submission form must be completed with contact details, meeting subject and names of people participating in the appointment.

Enquiries: phone Allison Dwyer 6233 3830 or 1800 041 043.


Tasmanian Political Rot: The PMAA Revisited

Reproduced from


The recent “highly publicized” activities of Gunns at Longreach and the Trevallyn Reserve have revived and broadened public interest and public scrutiny of the now infamous PMAA and its associated permits. No need any more to spell out the name of the legislation. It’s now a well-known acronym, and continually growing in stature, but has long since left behind its aura of a model of controversially undemocratic Tasmanian legislation. It has acquired a more singular authority, as a thorough exemplar of political rot, the template for the failure of Tasmanian political processes at their worst.

The carefully orchestrated publicity between Gunns and its unfailingly fawning propaganda arm, the Launceston Examiner, has rebounded in quite spectacular fashion on both parties. The Chinese Government couldn’t have done it better.

“People not pulp mill pipeline” Community Picnic

Pipeline Picnic

Join family and friends for a Community Picnic as we come together to reclaim the Trevallyn Recreation Reserve, “our publicly owned reserve” and stop Gunns’ land clearing charade.

What to expect: Hear from Peter Cundall and other dynamic speakers, enjoy the music and each other’s company.

Venue: Trevallyn Reserve Village Green, Reatta Road, Trevallyn. It’s adjacent to Doyle’s Shelter, the HOO HOO Hut and the Dressage Arena.

Time: 12.00-2.00pm

What to bring: picnic lunch, drinks, chairs and raincoat and sunscreen.

Parking: Ample parking is available near the Green.

Amenities: Toilets and BBQ facilities are available.


Get your copy of the picnic flyer by downloading the "TAP_picnic_sept09_small_flier.pdf" file from below. You can print out the two pages  back to back and cut into 4 separate flyers for sharing with friends and others.

Mandatory reading for would-be politicians

Five compelling facts about the planned Tamar Valley pulp mill story continue to drive strong and growing community opposition to the proposal. At stake is the livelihood, health and environment of 100 000 people who live within the 55km radius odour zone. Also at stake is the future of many politicians.

MEDIA RELEASE July 8th 2009

Tony Burke, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has misled Parliament and should be relieved of his portfolio.

“It’s time for the Prime Minister to cut Burke loose. Not only is Burke a plagiarist, a shameless proponent of vested interest and incompetent in his portfolio, but most seriously of all, he has misled Parliament,” stated TAP spokesperson Bob McMahon. 

Summary of spin terms extracted from Gunns' statements to the ASX from 2007 on a pulp mill joint venture partner and finance

Here is the spin to cover a lack of substance extracted from 20 statements issued by Gunns to the ASX about imminent financing and construction from 2007.

Summary of key words and phrases from statements (the only bit you need to know)
“substantially progressed, completed in the near term, proceed quickly, final stages of completion, commencing on site construction, final terms, finalise the arrangement, strong international interest, active discussions, discussions continuing, continuing to progress, continuing to work positively, progress discussions, continuing to negotiate, continuing talks, continuing with the project, quickly as possible, move forward, will continue, quickly as possible, progressing, on target, expecting to reach agreement, finalised, moving forward positively, project ready.”

New! The Duh/Great Potato/Great Cabbage Awards

Buck and Joan Emberg need your help.

We are in the process of collecting dumb statements by politicians and other people in places of leadership in the community.

At the moment we are calling it the "Duh...Award" for the greatest and funniest and worst statement by anybody. No holds barred.. we mean any person in leadership in the community. We are neither party nor gender specific; just trying to develop a satirical aspect of the newspaper which will be coming in the future.

Leaked letters between Gunns and the RPDC on fugitive odours

On 6 July 2005, the Resource Planning and Development Commission wrote a confidential letter to John Gay of Gunns detailing two major concerns with the planned pulp mill. These were that:

  • the proposed process for making chlorine dioxide is not considered accepted modern technology and would breach Tasmanian guidelines and possibly breach the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and
  • that the mill has no plans for controlling fugitive odours from hundreds of emission points (drains, pump seals, pipe connections and vessels) which will cause significant nuisance and diminution in quality of life for people living in the mill area.

 On the 12 July 2005, John Gay responded:

  • that Jaako Poyry have advised Gunns that the chlorine dioxide process can be demonstrated as accepted modern technology, and,
  • that fugitive emissions issue will be addressed in the Integrated Impact Statement.

The State Labor Government refused to allow the two letters to be tabled in Parliament (1 July 09).

Download the two confidential letters from below.

What happened then...

In March 2007 Gunns pulled out of the RPDC assessment. It emerged sometime later that a letter from the RPDC was about to be sent to Gunns stating that the proposal was critically deficient in eight key areas.

Despite claims by Gunns, the control of fugitive odours has still not been addressed according to pulp and paper expert Dr Warwick Raverty.

Section D.5.15 of the air emission guidelines allows the pulp mill to produce fugitive odours for 2 years after start up before the government regulator is required to act. Then, a regulator appointed expert does a review and makes some suggestions about what to do.  However, there is no requirement in the guidelines for Gunns to do what the expert says. See all bark and no teeth.

Concerns over the non standard method for producing chlorine dioxide remain unanswered.

The State Government's own fast track Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007 contains a provision (Section 11) that blocks any person from accessing the courts to seek compensation for damages arising from the pulp mill.

The way is open for Gunns to ignore the impact of fugitive odours on the health of the population living within a 110k-wide circle of the pulp mill.

Media release 28 June 09. Who is the government working for, foreign operatives or the Tasmanian public?

“Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke last week flagged using taxpayer subsidies to make it more attractive to foreign operatives to take control of Gunns’ planned pulp mill and Tasmania's resources” said TAP Into A Better Tasmania spokesman, Bob McMahon.

But a new state-wide EMRS poll shows two in every three Tasmanians don’t want the planned Tamar Valley pulp mill to go ahead because it will result in foreign operatives effectively controlling Tasmanian water, land and forests.

The poll was commissioned in mid-June by TAP Into a Better Tasmania. Of the 800 Tasmanians surveyed, 65% said “no” the government should not allow the pulp mill to go ahead if it results in foreign control, 26% said “yes”, and 9% were unsure.

Bob McMahon said, “The recent endorsement of Gunns’ pulp mill by the Federal Minister Tony Burke shows Labor is working for effective foreign control of our land, water and forests. But according to the latest EMRS poll, Tasmanians overwhelmingly don’t want it”.

“Labor should know better than to rely on those with a conflict of interest in Gunns and the CFMEU for advice to get behind a project that has failed to analyse the risks, failed to make a proper business case, and failed the best interests of Tasmanians,” Mr McMahon said.

"If this was a reputable business it would have attracted reputable finance. It did not. The ANZ, quickly followed by other Australian and foreign banks wanted nothing to do with it. That's why Gunns are trawling the world with cap in hand looking for a ‘Khemlani’. That's why the CFMEU dominated federal Labor are spruiking the mill on John Gay's behalf. What Minister Burke is doing is far more serious than what Rudd and Swan have been accused of over the car dealer John Grant affair," he continued.

For further information contact:
Bob McMahon
Spokesperson for TAP Into A Better Tasmania

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke’s big mistake

“Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke is looking very foolish today having relied on partial and biased advice from Gunns and the CFMEU to endorse Gunns’ planned pulp mill,” said TAP Into a Better Tasmania spokesman, Bob McMahon.

“Tony Burke should know better than to rely on those with a conflict of interest for advice to get behind a project that has failed to analyse the risks and failed to make a proper business case,” Mr McMahon said.

“No reputable banker will touch the project and it has proved unacceptable everywhere else in the world", he continued.

The State and Commonwealth’s own RPDC assessment found the Gunns proposal critically deficient in eight areas. There has been no risk assessment to Treasury standards, no socio-economic and environmental analysis, and no analysis of the costs.

Even the assessment by Sweco Pic did not examine noise emissions, impacts on surface or estuarine waters, effects on flora and fauna, transport implications and social and economic effects, nor construction impacts, nor impacts from off-site infrastructure development such as the raw water supply pipeline, effluent pipeline or the quarry.

Mr McMahon said, “The federal Minister has gone out on a limb and ignored the agriculture and fisheries responsibilities of his own portfolio by publicly backing Gunns' proposed pulp mill for the Tamar Valley.”

At risk are many wine-making, organic food and horticultural small businesses that thrive in the region and 2600 tourism-related businesses in Launceston and Tamar Valley.

Risks to Tasmania’s fishing industry due to dioxin contamination from pulp mill effluent stand to cost the industry $693.5 million and 700 job losses over the life of the project (Tasmanian Round Table for Sustainable Industries Project

"Tasmania's hard-won clean reputation as a producer of fine seafood, wine, and a range of high quality produce in the agricultural and horticultural industries, stands to be gutted by Burke’s unquestioning acceptance of biased lobbying by the CFMEU," Bob McMahon said.

Not one survey or poll conducted either statewide or nationally during the past five years showed majority support for the mill.

For further information contact:
Bob McMahon
Spokesperson for TAP Into a Better Tasmania


Letter to Swedish firm Sodra about significant and undisclosed risks from investing in Gunns' pulp mill

12 July 2009
CEO Mr Leif Brodon
Södra, Skogsudden, 351 89 Växjö
Fax: 0470-891 85

Re: Significant risk to Södra’s bottom line from investing in Gunns’ planned pulp mill, Tamar Valley, Tasmania.

Dear Mr Brodon,
We write to point out a significant and undisclosed risk to Södra’s bottom line should the company decide to invest in Gunns’ pulp mill planned for the Tamar Valley, Tasmania.

It is unlikely that Gunns has pointed out their dependency on direct and indirect government subsidies because Gunns has neither reported on these in its Integrated Impact Statement and does not report the subsidies in their books. Given the scale of these subsidies, their potential loss to Gunns and forestry in Tasmania poses a significant risk to the future value of Södra’s investment as the global financial downturn forces governments to look for ways to cut back on expenditure.

The profitability of Gunns Ltd has long been artificially propped up with a wide range of taxpayer subsidies as listed in the Appendix below. A cash subset of forestry related subsidies have also been identified in an independent study by economist Graeme Wells.

The local community via its organisation TAP Into a Better Tasmania has estimated subsidies for Gunns and forestry in Tasmania and costs arising from the pulp mill project. These include losses to other businesses and the community of more than $3.1bn, one time diversion of taxpayer dollars of $399m (so far) and ongoing subsidies of $360m/year See Subsidies and the Appendix below for more detail.

The scale of many subsidies is not precisely known as there has been no socio-economic and environmental analysis of the pulp mill proposal or an analysis of cost side of a cost-benefit study. Neither has there been a risk assessment to Australian Treasury standards of the pulp mill project. Sweco Pic’s assessment of the project “does not include … noise emissions, impacts on surface or estuarine waters, effects on flora and fauna, transport implications and social and economic effects, and does not include construction impacts and does not include impacts from off-site infrastructure development such as raw water supply pipeline, effluent pipeline or quarry” (p12 Assessment of the Gunns Limited Bell Bay Pulp Mill Against the Environmental Emission Limit Guidelines, 25 June 2007)

There is considerable community disquiet about the assessment of the project with only 26% agreeing with the Government's fast-track process, 64% disagreeing and 10% unsure (8 August 2007 EMRS statewide poll. (See Also, 26 of 27 opinion polls conducted from 2005 to the present show a majority of Tasmanians and Australians are opposed to a Gunns’ pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Only one poll in George Town near the proposed pulp mill, showed majority support (53% to 47%) in February 2008.

Governments are coming under increasing pressure as a result of the global financial crisis to reign in spending, recoup costs and reduce subsidies in the face of backlash from voters who are increasingly angry with the loss of essential services. Some of these services include health, public housing, education services, disability services, road & rail funding, national parks and nature conservation.

The dependence on subsidies means that neither Gunns nor Södra can guarantee the future bottom line profitability of the proposed pulp mill. Professional business consultants have advised us that the most responsible decision for Södra is to wait until the scale and type of subsidies is clear and the risks clarified.

We welcome inquiries to provide further information about the financial risk to your bottom line from investing in Gunns’ planned pulp mill.

Yours faithfully

Tony Saddington

Spokesperson for TAP Into a Better Tasmania

Cc Evans & Peck, Sydney office
Fax: +612 9495 0520


Whilst it has not been possible to produce precise figures for all subsidies to Gunns and the forestry industry, it is clear that the level is very high. The global financial downturn and a decline taxpayer in funded support poses a significant risk to Södra’s future bottom line.

Some opportunity costs and subsidies for forestry and the proposed pulp mill include:
1. Logging operations (research, building and maintaining roads, bridges). Greater than $65m/yr.
2. Resource use (free water use by plantations, transportation subsidies for heavy truck traffic). $176m/yr.
3. Provision of infrastructure (rail, pipelines highway upgrades). One time costs = $376m, annual cost = $19m/yr.
4. Pulp mill project promotion, planning and review. One time costs = $14m.
5. Direct government assistance to logging industry (plantation establishment schemes, favourable loan agreements, economically inefficient pricing policies, taxation policies and direct and indirect financial assistance) over past 10 years = $632.8m.  See Graeme Wells report at (
6. Indirect costs (health impacts on communities, losses to 2600 tourism and related businesses in Launceston and the Tamar Valley, loss of agricultural land to plantations, losses to 77 fine food and winery related businesses in the Tamar Valley, risks to Bass Strait fishing industry). Largely unknown but exceeds $1.1bn/yr.
7. Carbon trading losses ($165m/year).
8. Electricity subsidies (to Gunns and major contract users in the wood processing sector). Unknown.