09 September, 2010

Gunns breaks silence on FIAT split

9 September 2010, ABC online

The head of timber giant Gunns Limited has spoken publicly about why the company is severing its ties with the state's most influential forest industry lobby group.

It has been revealed Gunns is quitting the Forest Industries Association of Tasmania.

The company's departure undermines the association's finances and powerbase, as forestry peace talks continue with environmentalists.

Gunns chief executive Greg L'Estrange was asked about the spilt at a forest industry conference in Melbourne today.

"It's one of those things you normally do quietly and have those conversations with the industry," he said.

"As you would have heard today we have a certain path that we are taking our organisation on and we've made those decisions taking all of those things into account."

Mr L'Estrange says the forest industry has lost the public debate on logging.

He has called for an end to the so-called war between the industry and environmentalists.

He said there had been a decline in the public demand for wood products and he reiterated Gunns' intention to become a plantation only business, urging others to follow suit.

He told the conference that most Australians now support the environmental lobby.

"The vast support of the Australian population is with the environmental non-government organisations," he said.

"This commands them to work with them to create a future without this conflict that moves them from being in opposition for our products and processes, to being supportive.

"This may well mean transitioning to plantation but move we must.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/09/3007304.htm

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