Pulling the Charity Lever

Tasmanian logging (Photo: The Wilderness Society)A six-all vote by Launceston City Council on a motion expressing opposition to a proposed pulp mill has irked Gunns, the Tasmanian logging company pushing the project. Even though the tied vote meant the motion lost, Gunns director and former Tasmanian Premier, Robin Gray, phoned all six who voted against the mill. One of the six was Albert Van Zetten, who is also the chief executive of Launceston City Mission, which provides support to the homeless. Two years ago Gunns provided the charity with six months rent-free use of an empty warehouse and has also provided other support for the group. Sue Neales reports that Gray "threatened to axe or cut back Gunns' support" for the charity after Van Zetten's vote. Gray did not respond to requests for comment but his wife told Neales that "we thought it was rather disloyal of him to come out now and criticise the pulp mill."