Never mind the battles over who has the nicer garden makeover. Here’s a real life one shaping up…
Don Burke been hired by timber company Gunns to help win support for its northern Tasmanian pulp mill. The move pits Burke against former ABC TV gardening identity Peter Cundall, who has been a vocal critic of the controversial project.
According to the ABC, the $2 billion proposal has stalled as tighter credit conditions force Gunns to look overseas for funds.
Green groups have slammed the proposal saying it will cause extensive damage to Tasmania’s native forests and waterways. Vica Bayley from the Wilderness Society says it will be tough for Burke to try to change the company’s direction.
“If Don Burke can make the change the rest of the community want to see in Gunns then he will be hailed as a welcome entry into the debate,” he said. “But if he is shown to be purely greenwashing the community and putting an expensive PR spin over environmentally unfriendly practices, then his integrity will take a hit.”
Don Burke told ABC Local Radio, “The majority of the people on the planet have a job but that doesn’t mean their integrity is purchased by their employer.
“I would have thought my track record stands out pretty clearly; that nobody buys my integrity.”
Burke says he has received assurances from Gunns’s chairman John Gay that the role will be independent of the company.
“So I’ve got access to the entire company. He asked me to monitor what’s going on, and work in the best interests as a green person,” he said. “At no state has he hinted that there would be anything other than objectivity.”
Burke is also chairman of the Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), which despite its name was once described by the Herald Sun as “pro-biotechnology, pro-nuclear power, pro-modern farming, pro-economic growth, pro-business and pro-environment.”
Burke is reported as saying, “The greatest threat to the world’s environment is the conservation movement.”