Garrett’s Gunns Decision

There is still a lot of detail to be discovered in the decision of Peter Garrett yesterday. Adrian just listened to a story on ABC where it appears that the decision to go ahead with building the plant was all down to Turnbull.

This is what Adrian posted over at the watercooler:

OK I just heard the interview with Peter Garrett and the route he has taken makes a lot more sense.

If Peter is to be believed, and there is no reason not to believe him as this is easily checked, then the process of Requirement Modules was setup by Malcolm Turnbull and legally must be followed through. The modules approved so far has meant that there has been nothing but lack of finance stopping Gunns from having started building the mill from February 2008, so Garrett hasn’t approved construction, the module process implemented by Turnbull has.

Garrett within legal grounds has asked Gunns to undertake stricter environmental impact studies on the remaining three modules, which Garrett has not approved. It is up to Gunns to make the decision to go ahead without the approval for the final three modules, and as Garrett said in the interview if Gunns does do that then they must be absolutely certain they can meet the strict environmental conditions imposed on them.

Can we bring all of the discussion over to this thread?


Update: I have closed this thread to comment as reb is currently getting a more detailed thread up.


2 Responses

  1. I’ll add to my post above that Garrett was at pains to point out that the press and media reports he read this morning stating he specifically had approved construction were wrong.

  2. Adrian,

    That was what I understood to be the case, ie, construction could have commenced last year but the Mill couldn’t operate.

    Garrett has shown that he is willing to reject modules which he and his Department don’t think are up to scratch. This is good IMO and pretty much what everyone has wanted all along (except those who just want him to refuse the thing on some ideological ground). Garrett has to work in what is a pretty flawed system and there isn’t much he can do but insist that the environmental performance promised is of a v.high standard. He’s doing this!

    As you mentioned on the Watercooler thread Adrian, it weill be difficult for Garrett to reject the modules in two years time if the mill is constructed and ready to go, but this is slightly different to other projects in that saying no won’t mean laying off people, it just means they won’t be employed. The latterdoesn’t place as much pressure on a decision maker as the first.

    The problem still for Gunns is finance. Investors are going to be unwilling to put money into something that isn’t guaranteed of approval and Garrett’s rejection of these modules has shown that he is willing to say no. There may yet be scope for green investment here to change the project to zero emission, I’m not holding my breath though – people are simply opposing this and not looking at ways to work with Gunns to get a win-win situation. The reason for this is that the very vocal opposition to this Mill is primarily related to opposition to harvesting old-growth forests with the discharge issues being a secondary (and not insurmountable) issue. Environmental activism has always been opportunistic and this is no issue is no exception (which BTW I don’t have a problem with provided the people doing it are open about it)

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