Owners of Tasmania's 230,000 hectares of eucalypt plantations should have chance to harvest, sell, asset says Australian Forest Products Assn., welcomes province's support for sale of Gunns assets including land, designs for Bell Bay pulp mill
DEAKIN WEST, Australia
November 5, 2013
(Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA))
– The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has applauded both the Tasmanian State Labor Government and Liberal Opposition for maintaining their support in principal for a pulp making plant. The Tasmanian plant could potentially produce the material to replace the imported pulp which is the base material for high-quality paper and tissue production. If there is to be more discussion about this proposal, the people of Tasmania deserve it to be rational and fact-based.
The Gunns’ receiver, KordaMentha, has advertised for sale the plantations, permits, designs and lease on a site next to the Bell Bay Aluminium Smelter.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said, ‘Tasmanians made their views clear in the way they voted at the last federal election. They are not swayed by emotional arguments about large projects which have the potential to deliver hundreds of jobs as well as stability to communities.
‘There are almost 230 000 ha of eucalypt plantation in Tasmania. Many of these trees were planted specifically to support the pulp-making mill and are now ready for harvest. Much of the wood fibre in question is a crop owned by hundreds of Australians – many of them family scale farmers. They should be given the chance to harvest and sell that asset.
‘The pulp which would be manufactured in this mill will be in demand to be used in manufacturing of high quality textiles and paper. Pulp is also hailed as the new wonder material of the 21st century. With further manufacturing it can produce nano-chrystalline cellulose which is used in flexible electronic displays, bio-plastics and computer components in addition to the available renewable energy its manufacture would create.
‘The proposed plant would enable timber to be processed into a high-value product in Tasmania, rather than being exported as a lower-value raw product. Australia currently imports about $1.2 billion in paper and tissue product each year.
‘The forecasts are for global demand for tissue, paper and packaging to grow from 400 million tonnes to 600 million over the next twenty years, driven primarily by China and India.
‘The proposed pulp mill would be world-scale, using the latest technology, making it highly competitive in global markets. This would be a massive leap up the value chain.
Neither the community, nor AFPA, would accept a pulp making plant which did not meet the highest environmental standards,’ said Mr Hampton.