typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Voyeurs, Gunns and Money.

with 2 comments

As I said here a few days ago, there will be some bits of interest going up here shortly for filing under forests, environmental law, and Tasmania. Although I’m essentially an opinionated prick who reads a bit, I try not to let a good rant get in the way of most facts – and the fact is that the overturning of the Wielangta decision, which had previously seen Bob Brown’s interpretation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act upheld by the Federal Court, means the battle for forests and ancient land-based ecosystems in Australia is on a much more demanding uphill slog than it was a week ago. More on that later.

Speaking of things Green – it may be that media aren’t interested until there’s a bunch of hard facts on the ground (yeah, right), but the Senate counting is not yet complete and will likely not be finished for another week. Counting in at least two states is still so close that it may be decided by the final handful of votes yet to be tallied. This is significant, because it means the difference between the crossbench power bloc in the Senate being composed of 7 Greens, or 6 Greens and a centre left independent, or 5 Greens and a centre left independent and a whatever from Family First, aka Neoconservative Demonspawn. So fingers still crossed. The less right wing influence on legislation for at least the next few years, the better.

And now to the point of this post. Gunns are now negotiating in Tasmania to secure an area for accomodation for up to 800 construction workers and a worker’s town to be built near the proposed location of the pulp mill. But they haven’t yet bought the actual site for the pulp mill itself. Here’s hoping that it all comes undone. Either way, a friend just sent me the link for this new website: The Gunns Investor Information Service.

It has a bunch of interesting and relevant information such as:

3) Gunns business is highly exposed to subsidy reductions:-

  • For each hectare of plantation established by Gunns, they receive over $3,000 of taxpayer money via MIS. To increase their plantation estate, Gunns needs more land. The mill seems to need a minimum of 400,000 ha of plantation, an increase of 200,000 ha from current levels. That growth would represent further federal subsidies of $640 million. If that scheme is stopped (and there are many farming and community groups fighting it), then plantation estate increases would be curtailed. That would cap inputs and lower income significantly.
  • Road and bridge repairs are conducted at ratepayer expense. The weight of modern log trucks creates disproportionate damage and total cost relief for this item has been estimated at about $20 million per year across Tasmania. Councils are already crying poor, how long before this subsidy comes under serious question?
  • Plantation trees consume a lot of water (reported as averaging 2 Ml/ha/yr more than agriculture) for which plantation operators do not pay. Tasmania is in drought status right now, rainfall has been diminishing for 10 years and reservoirs are at record lows. Pressure from farmers and communities down catchment could easily change government policy on water charges for trees. The 400 Gl currently calculated for Gunns plantation, at $100 Ml, represents $40 million dollars of foregone State revenue per year.
  • Additional subsidies in the forms of cash payments and cost relief have also been made available to Gunns (e.g. forest agreements etc) to the value of over $300 million in the last 3 years.

So go check it out, and feel free to let any of your elected representatives know if, for example, you have never actually voted for Gunns and are therefore curious why they seem to be running a state of Australia.

Oh, the picture up the top? It’s part of a new outdoor installation in Bethlehem by Banksy, near the wall dividing Israel from Palestine. Bird of Peace in a bulletproof vest on a gunshot-riddled wall facing an Israeli guard tower? Magic. It’s nothing to do with any of this and that’s perhaps why it’s there. Go to Santa’s Ghetto and check out the art show and fundraiser which this cutting work is part of.

 

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Written by typingisnotactivism

December 8, 2007 at 1:38 am

2 Responses

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  1. Remember Port Arthur: No Gunns for Tasmania!

    Tex

    December 11, 2007 at 4:01 am

  2. Ha!

    typingisnotactivism

    December 11, 2007 at 3:39 pm


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