Llewellyn and the pulp mill

SO-CALLED Tasmanian Resources Minister, and current spokesman on behalf of the Tasmanian Government for Gunns, David Llewellyn, has welcomed news from Lindsay Street, Launceston, that Gunns will have a foreign capital stake of up to 50% to build the pulp mill in the Tamar Valley under the thoroughly discredited fast-tracked 2007 Pulp Mill Assessment Act (PMAA).

He is reported as saying “We are very pleased those positive moves are there”. (Mercury, 11/4/07)

What the Minister is unlikely to be told by Gunns, and therefore will feel no compunction to act on, is his responsibility to the public as an elected “representative” of the people of Tasmania, which he swore to undertake as a member of the Tasmanian Parliament, and that is to tell the people what is going to happen (or has already happened, or is in train) to ensure the mill is built, pipelines and all, in the “public interest”.

It can in no way be denied by the Minister that the public has a right to know (that is, that the public should be informed now), as a result of these “positive developments” for Gunns, just how it is proposed that Gunns be able to build their pipelines from Trevallyn to the Tamar, and how they will be able to build their pipeline on the east Tamar to the mill through private property.  Or will they be able to bypass land where owners have no intention of permitting the pipeline to be built?  If so, we need to know that as well.

It cannot be denied that it is clearly in the “public interest” that David Llewellyn, or David Bartlett or some other government spokesman on Gunns’ behalf in the Labor Cabinet, inform the population of the Tamar Valley what the mechanisms are that will provide for the pipelines to be built.

But more than that, it is the responsibility of the Resources Minister, or some other Minister (even the Minister for Health, for her responsibilities should have something to do with matters pertaining to the health of people in the Tamar Valley in the future, or even the Minister for Tourism, just in case Hawthorn footballers have an interest in visiting the Tamar Valley) to tell the people just how this is going to happen.

This is true for all the residents of the Tamar Valley, but particularly true for those who will have a pipeline built across their property against their will and without their permission.  Minister Llewellyn has a responsibility to tell those people by what mechanism that will be done, whether by using the new planning legislation or some other means.

If Llewellyn does not believe it is his responsibility to inform the public how these things are going to occur, we should also know that as well.

Llewellyn cannot deny he is unaware of the massive consequences that will face the people of the Tamar Valley when the mill is built, (after all it will use more water than all Launceston uses in a year, and it will pump material into the atmosphere hot enough “to punch through the Tamar Valley inversion layer”, if we are to believe one of Gunns’ managers), and even though he and his colleagues could not care less about those consequences, he still has some moral and ethical imperative, surely, to explain how it is going to occur, and what legislation is going to be used to do that.

There is another thoroughly unedifying aspect to all this secrecy and deliberate failure to represent the interests of the people, which is quite frankly, rather sickening.  Gunns has consistently made virtually identical statements to those they have made in the last few days about obtaining finance and naming construction dates for some years now.

It is well past time that the “news” about this matter be clarified by the Tasmanian government.  It is beyond absurd that an elected government refuses to inform the public of the reasons for or the credibility of these repetitious statements by Gunns.

In that context, let David Llewellyn tell us all quite clearly whether the current statements by Gunns have any credibility, or are part of a routine, issued at various times when various timelines are approaching, such as permit limits issued under the PMAA.  When do they expire Minister Llewellyn, and what does Gunns need to do to ensure they are extended when they do expire? 

Most importantly, the public have a democratic right to know how Gunns is going to get their pipelines built so they can use 40 gigalitres of water annually.  If we are told we don’t have a right to know, at least we will know that another part of the democratic fabric of Tasmania has been torn up.

Peter Henning

 

 

Peter Henning

It is well past time that the “news” about this matter be clarified by the Tasmanian government.  It is beyond absurd that an elected government refuses to inform the public of the reasons for or the credibility of these repetitious statements by Gunns.

In that context, let David Llewellyn tell us all quite clearly whether the current statements by Gunns have any credibility, or are part of a routine, issued at various times when various timelines are approaching, such as permit limits issued under the PMAA.  When do they expire Minister Llewellyn, and what does Gunns need to do to ensure they are extended when they do expire? 

Most importantly, the public have a democratic right to know how Gunns is going to get their pipelines built so they can use 40 gigalitres of water annually.  If we are told we don’t have a right to know, at least we will know that another part of the democratic fabric of Tasmania has been torn up.