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Pulp mill debate moves to Europe -

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Pulp mill debate moves to Europe

The World Today - Thursday, 7 May , 2009 12:42:00

Reporter: Felicity Ogilvie

PETER CAVE: After months of stagnation the debate surrounding Gunns' Tasmanian pulp mill is back on
with the forestry union and opponents of the mill doing battle for the hearts and minds of European
bankers.

Gunns still needs to lock in finance to build $2.2-billion project, so the forestry union is using
its connections to lobby European banks to provide finance.

The CFMEU took the action after anti-mill groups placed an ad in the European 'Financial Times'
last week urging them not to finance the mill.

Felicity Ogilvie reports from Hobart.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Tasmanian's have listened to both sides of the pulp mill debate for years. Now
it's the European banks' turn.

Last week anti-mill groups placed an ad in the European Financial Times warning the banks they'll
be pulping their profits if they finance Gunns' mill.

The banks will also be hearing from the forestry union.

MICHAEL O'CONNOR: We will just be making a very clear message to them that the campaign, the
targeting of this project by others is based on misinformation.

Michael O'Connor is the federal secretary of the forestry branch of the CFMEU. He's getting
affiliate unions in Europe to lobby the banks in favour of Gunns.

The European banks are important to Gunns because that's where the company has gone to try and
secure some of the $2.2-billion it's going to cost to build the pulp mill.

MICHAEL O'CONNOR: We're pretty confident that the mill is going to go ahead and we believe that the
company will be successful in attracting investors. But what we can do, we can reinforce the
message that this mill or this project is a good investment, that it meets, it ticks all the boxes,
it will be economically viable, it will be environmentally sustainable and it's going to be a good
investment.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Gunns' sustainability manager Carlton Frame says the company appreciates the
union's support.

CALRTON FRAME: Well look I think this is positive in the context that it's demonstrating that at
the end of the day there is broad based support for this project proceeding.

I think one of the unfortunate things that the campaign by anti-forestry groups is trying to
achieve at the moment is to make themselves look a lot larger than they actually are.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The Wilderness Society's Paul Oosting says the union's reaction shows the
anti-mill campaign has been successful.

PAUL OOSTING: The message is getting across to financiers around the financial risks associated
with Gunns' pulp mill and also the impacts that it will have on the Tasmanian economy, existing
jobs in many other industries represented by other unions and also on the environment.

FELICITY OGILVIE: The anti-mill ad in the Financial Times named European Banks that haven't ruled
out financing Gunns.

One of the banks reacted by calling Tasmania to get advice from pulp and paper analyst Robert
Eastment.

ROBERT EASTMENT: I don't think they enjoy being bullied. One of them rang me recently who's a
subscriber of mine, a businessman, and they said they'd had a call from some of the agents and the
Wake Up people, they'd accepted seeing them.

But they asked for the politics behind it all and I felt very much that they were feeling well
they'll take the decision on their own terms.

FELICITY OGILVIE: Gunns is also looking for a joint venture partner to help finance the
$2.2-billion mill. The company has told the stock exchange it expects to announce that partner next
month.

PETER CAVE: Felicity Ogilvie reporting.