For a while now we have held the view that political corruption by Gunns Ltd would inevitably also involve financial deceptions. We assumed it would be flushed out, if ever, by say new rules requiring auditors to answer written questions of shareholders (thank you John Howard!).
But here we read today of alleged failure to disclose correct market sensitive information relating to an expert report. This project has a bad whiff of dead cat about it just like the Franklin River Dam project of the early 1980ies. Another bad project by a bad company.
Green Senator press release follows:
Did Gunns mislead ASX? Full investigation needed immediately
Hobart, Friday 30 January 2009
The Australian Greens are today calling for a full ASIC investigation
into whether Gunns misled the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday.
Gunns yesterday released the Herzfeld hydrodynamic modelling Report,
which Senator Milne has been attempting to obtain since April 2008. In
releasing the report to the ASX, Gunns claimed that Minister Garrett had
approved Module L of their environmental impact assessment, a claim
denied by Minister Garrett this morning.
"In trying to spin their way out of Dr Herzfeld's frying pan, Gunns may
well have landed themselves in a much bigger fire," Australian Greens
Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"The ASX must immediately commence an inquiry into whether or not Gunns
misled investors yesterday, and refer the issue to ASIC for a full
"The Herzfeld Report is deeply embarrassing for Gunns. It confirms that
Gunns' pulp mill will pollute Bass Strait and will jeopardise the
precious marine environment."
Dr Herzfeld said: 'this creates the possibility for high concentrations
to be carried significant distances from the source and will certainly
reach Commonwealth waters [and the coast] under conducive forcing
Dr Herzfeld goes on to say that, based on criteria prescribed in the
State Pulp Mill Permits 2007 regarding chlorate, Gunns would be in
breach of the conditions 'on an almost daily basis'.
"Gunns has spent the past four years trying to persuade the Tasmanian
community that its pulp mill would not pollute Bass Strait," Senator
"Gunns is clearly trying to spin the Herzfeld report as superseded on
the basis that Minister Garrett has approved Module L, but the Minister
has made it clear that nothing in Module L is set in stone. Minister
Garrett has said that, not only has he not approved Module L, but that
he will not do so until he has all the necessary science in front of him
from the real time hydrodynamic modelling, which will take a further 18
months to be completed.
"Gunns' claim that Dr Herzfeld's report has been superseded is desperate
and misleading spin from a company increasingly on the back foot.
"Far from being superseded, the facts remain that Gunns will dump 64,000
tonnes of effluent, including dioxins, every day into shallow Bass
"Tasmanians do not want their precious coasts, marine life and seafood
compromised by Gunns' polluting pulp mill," Senator Milne concluded.