GUNNS RIDE FREE

Hydro Tasmania is currently crafting a deal that will grant Gunns discounted access to the State’s dwindling water supply. The contract will be set and signed between Gunns Limited and Hydro Tasmania as soon as State Parliament approves the Tamar Valley Pulp Mill. The contract will allow Gunns to fill their cup at a rate of at least 26,000 megalitres a year from Trevallyn Dam. The drafted contract specifies that Gunns will be charged a measly $24 for each megalitre consumed by the thirsty Tamar Valley Pulp Mill. This equates to the Hydro raising only $624000 in annual revenue from Gunns Limited. For a financially insecure consortium like Hydro Tasmania, $624000 per annum is not enough to keep heads above water as the company continues to drown in debt. The State Rivers and Water Supply Commission currently charge Tasmanian farmers up to $1100 per megalitre for the right to access water. If the Hydro charges Gunns the same water rates as they charge farmers, Hydro Tasmania would make approximately $28million a year out of this deal. But the Hydro has chosen not to charge Gunns the standard rates, for some reason Gunns doesn’t have to pay as much for water as our farmers and food growers do. Not only is this unfair, it is totally bizarre for a debt-riddled company like Hydro Tasmania to pass up $28million a year. What on Earth is going on? This contract will allow Gunns to suck up our water supply and pay next to nothing for the privilege; like bad tenants squatting rent-free in our homes, Gunns will get a free ride on the Hydro water slide while Tasmanian families foot the bill.