At mid-day today a determined crowd gathered at Gunns’ Long Reach mill site north of Launceston to peacefully protest the Tasmanian community’s ongoing opposition to Gunns’ Tamar Valley pulp mill project.
They sent yet another clear message to Gunns, governments, and any potential financier, that the pulp mill will never receive community approval.
The Time’s Up! event was co-organised by Pulp the Mill, Code Green and Still Wild Still Threatened.
Speakers included Bass Greens MP Kim Booth, Launceston City Councillor Jeremy Ball, Code Green’s Joanna Pinkiewicz, Lucy Landon-Lane from Pulp the Mill, and The Wilderness Society’s Ruth Groom.
The crowd was visibly moved by the inspirational words of all the speakers, who all spoke about the ongoing and strengthened community resolve to protect and preserve the remarkable Tamar Valley for future generations.
“It’s the power of the community, and the opportunities presented by a power-sharing parliament that has managed to prevent this obscene, polluting proposal to go any further than it has. The Greens have stood with the community every step of the way, and we will block any legislation brought to the House which seeks to perpetuate this corruptly approved project,” said Mr Booth.
“That over 150 people have chosen to be here today, to face potential arrest, is a strong indication of this community’s steadfast commitment to ensuring the mill is never built. And had this been an arrestable action, as it initially was advertised to be, then it would have involved the most arrests in Tasmania on one day since the Franklin Dam campaign,” said Mrs Groom.
In thanking the police for their support and professionalism, in negotiating with Gunns for site access for the event, Pulp the Mill’s spokesperson Lucy Landon-Lane said it was reassuring people could see for themselves no ‘substantial commencement’ had been made towards construction.
“With less than two weeks before the permits expire Gunns continue to maintain work is about to begin, yet there is no sign of any machinery, or any serious indication construction work is underway,” said Mrs Landon-Lane.
“The community remain totally determined this pulp mill will never built, and many people are prepared to continue making a positive stand - including a blockade - and to be arrested, to emphasise their opposition to the project, and to ensure potential financiers and politicians are aware the mill will never receive a social licence. We are more determined today than we were seven years ago that it will never be built”.
Lucy Landon-Lane said today’s protest was also a celebration of Tasmanians’ steadfast determination to oppose the pulp mill, and the fact it received so much support was a further demonstration of the strength and power of a united community.
Jeremy Ball also spoke of the power of a united community, and how so many people from various backgrounds, and with so many varied interests, can achieve an amazing result when they work together for the benefit of all.
“When the mill finally fails I hope that the connections and bonds people have forged with each other will continue on into the future, so the world can see what a vibrant community we have here,” he said.
Joanna Pinkiewicz from Code Green said it was vital for everyone’s future that the environment was respected, and a return to living more sustainably, and in harmony with the environment was more important than the pulp mill.
“If Gunns announces its insolvency, and withdraws from this project we will celebrate with you. If any other investor takes over this ill-planned project we will continue to oppose it, and work with you on the best strategies to stop this Pulp Mill from getting built once and for all,” Ms Pinkiewincz said.
• Richard Colbeck: Governments cannot ignore Tasmanian community
SENATOR THE HON RICHARD COLBECK
Senator for Tasmania
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry
Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science
M E D I A R E L E A S E
21 August 2011
Governments cannot ignore Tasmanian community
The Prime Minister and the Premier must start listening to the Tasmanian community and ditch the failed forestry Intergovernmental Agreement, Coalition Forestry Spokesman Senator Richard Colbeck said.
Senator Colbeck heard this message loud and clear today listening to 1000 people rally at Smithton in protest against the industry-destroying deal.
“The governments cannot ignore 1000 voices at Smithton today and 2000 voices in Hobart on Saturday. The Prime Minister and the Premier must start listening.
“At both rallies community representatives told of pain and anguish felt by individuals and businesses that has been caused by the uncertainty of this deal.
“Tasmania’s forest industry supporters are tired of broken promises. They are tired of the majority being dictated to by a minority.
“They want government to govern for all Tasmanians, not just 10-15 per cent.
“They want their elected representatives to put the jobs of the community before their own - the people of Tasmania must come first.
“Local communities like Smithton don’t want to be locked out of their own back yards.
“But the Greens and the environmental activists don’t want to let anyone in.
“They want to lock out forestry. They want to lock out mining. They want to lock out recreation. They even want to lock out tourism.
“Today the people of Circular Head said enough is enough.
“It is time for Labor to stand up to their Greens cronies and put the interest of the wider Tasmanian community first.
“The views of communities like Circular Head, and the support across Tasmania for our forest industries, should not and must not be ignored by the governments.
“It is time to ditch this sham deal,” Senator Colbeck said.