Meander Valley Gazette

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Theatrical Tarkine protest

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

MAY 2018 | Cody Handley

A PLETHORA of placards were seen in Deloraine on the morning of Tuesday 17th April.

Members of the Bob Brown Foundation and supporters turned out for a demonstration against the logging of old growth forests in the Tarkine region.

The protest took place at 11.00am outside the electoral office of Minister for Resources, Guy Barnett MP.

Placed firmly in focus by placards and speakers were the protesters assertion of a “black hole” of taxpayer subsidies to the forestry industry, and the destruction of ancient eco-systems of the Tarkine rainforests.

The short protest included a sing-along led by Lisa Yeates on an acoustic guitar, and speeches from former Greens candidate Scott Jordan, and scientist Deb Hunter.

Things turned lively when a single anti-Greens protester infiltrated the crowd, waving a placard of her own that read “No hunting, no camping, no fishing, no riding, no 4WDs, no fun, NO GREENS!”

The counter-protester, Kelly Wilton who runs a Facebook page called Support Tassie’s Timber Industry, wrote “I was welcomed by the protesters, until they read my signs.”

However, event organiser Carol Beaumont said her family had had a lot to do with the timber industry. “I support the forestry industry, just not logging old growth forests,” she said.

Greens campaigner Scott Jordan said “The state government spent $23 million building the Tarkine Drive to encourage tourism, and yet tourists can see logging sites. There have been numerous recommendations that this area should be world heritage, and we’re logging it at a loss.”

“There’s no economic reason, and certainly no environmental reason. It’s about choices. Do we want more teachers and nurses, or to prop up a dying industry?” he said.

Minister Barnett was away from the office on the day, but told the Gazette his government is a proud supporter of Tasmania’s sustainable forestry industry.

“This is nothing more than a stunt by Save the Tarkine. The North West has been crying out for more jobs, and the area suffered significant forestry job losses under the so-called Forestry Peace Deal. The people of Tasmania voted overwhelmingly against the Green anti-everything agenda at the last State election, and it’s time the perpetual protest brigade took note.”

Photo | Mike Moores