Tasmanian anti-logging protesters banned

Friday 28 Feb 2020

Anti-logging activists from the Bob Brown Foundation have been banned from protesting in Tasmanian forests by the state’s workplace safety regulator over “unsafe behaviour”, and threatened with fines as high as AU500,000.

But the veteran conservationist said protesters would not be deterred and has flagged legal action against the restrictions. WorkSafe Tasmania has directed the foundation to cease protest activities in forests until it satisfies the regulator that it is managing safety risk.

Several protesters were arrested earlier this month after chaining themselves to machinery and gates at a forestry operation in the north-west Tarkine rainforest. WorkSafe said the foundation had exposed people to risk of death or serious injury without reasonable excuse.

“This is not about stopping protesting ... [but] ensuring that activities are undertaken in a safe manner,” WorkSafe head Mark Cocker told ABC radio on Friday. Brown said the move was something that would make Russian president Vladimir Putin proud.

The federal assistant forestry minister, Jonathon Duniam, said the WorkSafe action was a major win for the state’s 5,700 forestry workers and proof that no one was above the law. The Australian Lawyers Alliance said the protest restrictions and threats of fines were an abuse of power. The foundation has two weeks to lodge an appeal.

Source: thegaurdian.com

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