The Triabunna Pulp Mill sale has gone ahead. But not to the Aprin Company, as was expected! The mill, situated on Tasmania’s east coast, has been a stalwart of the Gunns timber company for many years. It has been purchased by the new wave of green business people currently making their presence felt on the Australian corporate scene.
Gunns Limited is possibly the largest and one of the oldest Australian timber companies with a $600 million turnover and over 900 sq km of eucalypt plantations. According to Wikipedia, it is also Tasmania’s largest landowner and by far “the largest export woodchip operation in The Southern Hemisphere.” It has had a difficult profile over recent years because of its destruction of old growth forests in Tasmania. Environmentalists have attacked and criticised the company for its continued native forest wood chipping enterprises which have decimated areas of Tasmanian old growth forest.
The Triabunna mill sale is an exciting prospect for environmentalists, who view the purchase as a symbolic and necessary shift in the battle between the timber industry and green groups in the apple state. The new owners have declared the mill will continue to operate for the short to medium term, (the next few years) to ensure job and town security. But the long term plans are already causing a stir as there will be a transition and conversion of the site into an eco resort. One of the new owners stated “we don’t want to see people thrown out of work but we also probably see more clearly the need for a restructuring in the forest industries generally and for people to open their minds about new ways of making a living in that part of Tasmania.
The Australian newspaper also reported that “with new ownership of the mill comes immense power: its closure would, according to the state government and the industry, bring logging of native forests in southern Tasmania to a standstill.”
The two buyers who comprise the main duo of the consortium are Jan Cameron and Graeme Wood. Cameron, originally a New Zealander is one of Australia’s wealthiest women, and made her money with the Kathmandu chain of clothing and camping supplies. She lives a reclusive life in Tasmania and in the past 4 years has donated approximately $30 million to charity. She is a committed and humble philanthropist and environmentalist – down to earth and considerably low-key, who tends her free range chickens daily. Graeme Wood is the owner of the online tourist accommodation “wotif” site and is also a committed environmentalist who donated over $1 million to the Greens before the last federal election.
Gunns had initially been negotiating with the logging company Aprin, in a deal which would have secured the timber industry in Tasmania for many years to come. Aprin owners Ron and Brendon O’Connor – a father and son team who see Tasmania’s future linked with ongoing logging and timber production, have been bitterly disappointed by the sale to Cameron and Wood, and believe the sale to the green entrepreneurs will also spell the death of the Tasmanian Forest Peace Plan that is currently underway.
Envirosafe Solutions director Murray Simon has stated the Triabunna Mill sale is an exciting step in the right direction for green business and industry in Australia. “When business leaders such as Cameron and Wood move forward with sustainable ideas and practices that can also ensure job security for a region, the future looks bright,” he said. He also added the move gave smaller and less robust companies a sense that sustainability and new modes of doing business are a viable economic reality that can be embraced.
Envirosafe Solutions believes new direction and economically sustainable approach to business can also be profitable and productive. The Extreme Green range of eco-friendly products are developed with the environment in mind. Call the team now to purchase, on 1300 889070.