26 September 2012 — Tasmanian woodchipper Gunns’ voluntary administration is “an environmental win for Tasmania”, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said.
While she was “very sorry” for the lost jobs Gunns was never part of the flourishing economy she envisaged for the state, Senator Milne said.
“Its closure comes as no surprise – only last month the company announced a $1 billion loss, following a $350 million loss last year and charges of insider trading laid against its former chairman John Gay last November.
“In 2004 Gunns announced its proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill just as I announced my candidacy for the Senate. In the past eight years I have worked with the Tamar valley community opposing this pulp mill.
“The saga has had many twists and turns but has been characterised all along by abuse of process.
“Former Labor Premier Lennon, under instructions from John Gay, withdrew the pulp mill project from proper environmental impact assessment and at that point the community lost any hope that this project would be any different from all that had preceded it in terms of corrupt processes, and alienation of the community.
“The pulp mill is dead. Gunns is in administration and it is wrong of the premier or anyone else to try to suggest that it will get back on the rails.”
Ms Milne said Tasmania’s future relied on investing in new sustainable businesses.
In a statement, Gunns said the company was “disappointed that it will not be able to pursue the restructuring transaction, which it considers would have delivered a better outcome for the people who have a stake in the company’s past and future”.
“The company is very grateful to all those people, especially employees, past and present, who worked hard to support the company’s strategy.
“This is a disappointment for them and those associated with the restructure of Gunns business to a plantation-based manufacturing industry in Tasmania.’”
Shares in Gunns have been in a trading halt for more than six months with an administrator expected to be appointed shortly.
Gunns employs about 645 employees in Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.