Monday, August 27, 2007

Why the Gunns pulp mill proposal for the Tamar valley should not be approved

My submission to the "Invitation to comment on draft recommendation report - 2007/3385 Gunns Limited Proposed Pulp Mill, Tasmania"

The Gunns pulp mill proposal for the Tamar valley in Tasmania should not be approved until:
  • Full consideration of the impacts of the mill on Tasmania's native forests and wildlife habitat are assessed.
  • An independent assessment of the flow and dispersal of effluent in Bass Strait is undertaken
  • All toxic substances are removed from the mill effluent - no output of dioxin should be allowed.
  • Adequate local consultation has occurred - this was cut short when the Lennon Government abandoned their RPDC process
In its current form, the pulp mill would pollute the ocean with toxic dioxin, and have a very serious negative impact on fisheries and local tourism ventures in the Tamar valley.

The mill proposal should not be approved until these matters are resolved.

Peter Campbell


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An industry in decline

Tricia Caswell's industry views on the major problems with native forest logging (Age 30/7) reveal an industry in decline. Her shallow attempt to portray native forest logging as being "good for climate change" is simply not supported by scientific evidence.

Science tells us that around 10% of Australia's carbon emission are the result of deforestation and that old growth forests store up to 1500 tonnes per hectare. Logging them liberates the vast majority of this stored carbon into the atmosphere.

Protecting old growth forests is a key strategy for addressing climate change indentified in the recent Mitigation of Climate Change report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Caswell also seeks to propagate the myth that native forest logging is well managed. How can an activity that produce 80% waste in the form of woodchips be well managed? In addition, destroying old growth forests and replacing them with de facto plantations destroys their biodiversity too.

As our old growth forest estate declines and carbon emissions rise, the failures of management and policy in our native forests become more apparent.

First the industry-friendly Regional Forest Agreements are discredited, then the estimates in the Victorian Government
"Our Forest Our Future" policy statement also turn out to be incorrect.

Government subsides for native forest logging give it unfair competitive advantage over the plantation sector - where the bulk of timber jobs now are.

The subsidies for forest roads, transport, advertising and other externalities should be removed and a carbon tax applied to the emissions resulting directly from native forest logging.

Caswell's one-dimensional view of the destructive and greenhouse polluting native forest industry juggernaut is compromising the transition to a genuinely sustainable more climate friendly plantation-based industry.

Let us hope that Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales can follow the example of New Zealand, Western Australia and Queensland and protect our native forests and encouraging the more climate-friendly plantation alternative.