Water Week

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Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon shows “poor judgment”; Gunns pulp mill saga grinds towards Turnbull’s desk, oiled by 700 submissions

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Tasmanian Premier Paul Lennon had not helped himself, showing poor judgment when he allowed a company owned by Gunns to renovate his home when the state Government was trying to push through the $2 billion pulp-mill project for Gunns, according to The Australian (15/9/2007, p. 26).

Building work still goes on: This week he would not say how much the renovations cost. “I’ve said all those things before.” In March 2006, Lennon said that “so far” his renovations had cost more than $150,000, and the Gunns share of the work was worth “well over $100,000”. A building industry source estimated that by now the cost was closer to $400,000. The poor judgment added to the climate. The collapse of the independent vetting process for the mill by the Resource Planning and Development Commission (RPDC) that was then taken over by the state Government only added to that climate.

End of an expensive road in sight: It was Gunns that walked away from the RPDC. Says Gunns Tasmania’s managing director John Gay: “We’d spent three years and a large amount of money — something like $30 million — in a process that had ended up with no decisions at all. We’d spent $6 million on an environmental impact statement … we took 700 submissions and answered all those with scientific people.” Two weeks ago, Tasmania’s parlia­ment approved the mill. Now the final decision rests with Turnbull.

The Australian, 15/9/2007, p. 26

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