An important conflict has emerged between the statements from Gunns regarding commencement of construction on its proposed pulp mill and those of the chief scientist and conditions in the ministerial decision.

John Gay, executive chairman of Gunns Ltd, has stated in the media that construction will start in a matter of weeks. This is not possible under section 2.1.1.6 and section 2.3.1.3 of the recent chief scientist’s report which state as a recommendation for the pre-construction phase that:

2.1.1.6 Establishment of baseline surveys to assess risks associated with roadkill of listed terrestrial species, especially Tasmanian Devils and Spot-tailed Quolls

Baseline monitoring of roadkill along the East Tamar highway and other major access routes for construction should commence immediately. On a daily basis, the roads should be driven and all roadkill data collected, identified to species and the location recorded using GPS. Three months of data before construction commences, analysed in relation to known seasonal variation elsewhere in Tasmania , is a minimum requirement.

2.3.1.3 Levels of contaminants

Concentrations of dioxins, resin acids and other contaminants of potential concern should be monitored from:

  • Blubber samples from Australian Fur Seal ( Arctocephalus pusillus) pups and adults sampled during the breeding season in November and December from Tenth Island and a control site chosen in consultation with experts on the species;”

This matter should be investigated by both the ASX and ASIC since the market is not fully informed and large fluctuations in share price have occurred. The letter Gunns provided to the minister should also be released to the market.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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