On 29 January 2014 the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Pulp Mill Assessment Amendment Bill 2014 for the purpose of removing all doubts regarding the legal validity of the permit for the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill and, specifically, to prevent the TCT’s Supreme Court case continuing and potentially finding the permits had lapsed.
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust today issued a statement reminding investors who may be interested in buying the Tamar Valley pulp mill permit that the TCT’s Supreme Court case challenging the validity of the permit is still underway.
On 25 October 2011 the Tasmanian Conservation Trust commenced proceedings in the Tasmanian Supreme Court in Hobart seeking a determination that the Tamar Valley pulp mill permit has lapsed as the pulp mill was not substantially commenced before midnight on 30 August 2011. It is a matter of the utmost public interest for all Tasmanians and in particular the people of the Tamar Valley, that the legal status of the permit be resolved. We are advised only the Court can determine this.
On 6 June 2011, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust commenced a case in the Federal Court of Australia against the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke. The case seeks a judicial review of decisions made by the Minister on 10 March 2011 relating to the proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania.
On 10 March the Australian Government Minister for Environment, Tony Burke, gave final approval to the three outstanding modules for Gunns’ Tamar Valley pulp mill.Given the history of the Commonwealth’s compliance with Gunns’ requests, this came as no surprise at all. What was somewhat surprising was the Environment Minister’s spruiking of the mill and the amount of spin he put on his decision-making process. This clearly went above and beyond the call of duty, with one highlight occurring during an ABC Lateline interview where the Minister suggested he was supporting a new pulping process (elemental chlorine free – ECF Lite) in response to demands by environmental groups. In fact, the outstanding demand from all Tasmanian environmental groups in relation to Gunns pulp mill is that it not be built in the Tamar Valley.
On 2 February 2011, the newly appointed Premier, Lara Giddings, responded to the TCT’s 11 November 2010 letter to the former Premier, David Bartlett, and copied to the Prime Minister and her ministers for forestry and environment (published in full in the last Tasmanian Conservationist No. 321), which outlined the key shortcomings of the Forests Statement of Principles Agreement (FSoP). As expected, the Premier’s letter did not contain a detailed or substantive response to the many policy recommendations we made. But it did say that we could expect a meeting with Tasmanian Minister for Energy and Resources Bryan Green, whom the Premier described, as ‘leading the Tasmanian Government’s engagement with this (the Kelty) process’.
The forestry debate has moved very rapidly over the last few weeks, concluding with the Australian Government approval of the Gunns Bell Bay pulp mill on 10 March and the release of Bill Kelty’s forests moratorium statement on 11 March.
On 20 October 2010, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust announced that it had decided not to endorse the Forests Statement of Principles Agreement (the Agreement) which was signed by representatives of the forest industry and three conservation groups and presented to you on the 19 October 2010.