Paul Lennon has resigned as Premier of Tasmania. The key political supporter of the Gunns pulp mill project is no longer in office. The Tasmanian Times describes the project as “the most glaring example of Paul Lennon’s contempt for proper governance and indifference to democratic process”.
Tasmania Times comments, “Lennon is now gone. The pulp mill is almost certainly dead.”
- Gunns is the majority owner of Auspine, which owns two Scottsdale sawmills – Tasmania’s most heavily subsidised businesses. When Gunns took over two sawmills, they also received $4 million from the Scottsdale Industry and Community Development Fund, plus funding under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement.
- The State government is providing $6 million by way of free access to pine from the West Coast and King Islands.
- Then there’s $4 million to help build a road in the North East (which is supposed “to help tourists get to a Gold Coast style resort to be built on a swamp near Gladstone”).
- Gunns’ MIS (Managed Investment Scheme) business would be unviable in the absence of taxpayer-sponsored support
- Timber from Tasmania’s native forests is sold to Gunns at a loss by Forestry Tasmania
It remains to be seen, of course, whether David Bartlett, Tasmania’s Premier-elect will leave Gunns’ life support machine in place. If he switches off the subsidies, he will kill the pulp mill.