The detailed complaint, finalised on 13 December, with 114 signatories, is multi-faceted and is based on public claims made by Gunns in relation to issues which include wood supply for the mill, transport, water usage and power generation, economic matters, technology, impact of effluent, impact of atmospheric emissions, environmental monitoring and employment.
Under section 52 of the Trade Practices Act corporations are prohibited from conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive. The definition of misleading, in the ACCC descriptor, includes lying, leading someone to a false conclusion, creating a false impression, leaving out or hiding important information and making false claims about products and services. Laws which prohibit misleading conduct also apply to misleading advertising.
Signatories to the document have made it available to be used by members of the public, in part or in whole, to support other complaints to the ACCC. Briefer and less extensive complaints can be made by using the proforma at the ACCC site, http://www.accc.gov.au.
The detailed complaint can be viewed at http://www.tapvision.info
A detailed complaint about Gunns’ public marketing program to gain community support for the pulp mill in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania has been sent to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Gunns’ marketing included a 15 page document distributed to the public as an insert in the daily print media (early in 2007) and an extensive advertising program in newspapers and on television during November, especially immediately preceding the federal election. A public meeting of 200 people held in Launceston in early November was so outraged by the contents of the material that they decided it was in the public interest to seek an investigation by the ACCC to determine whether Gunns had breached section 52 of the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act.