Forest Protests Ties Up 413 Police Man Hours

Forest Protests Ties Up 413 Police Man Hours

Tasmania Minister for Resources Paul Harriss

Protecting Forest Jobs

Victor P Taffa

The Hodgman Government is committed to both the right to protest peacefully and to the protection of workers who want to earn a lawful living, Minister for Resources Paul Harriss said.

“Every time a protester enters the coupe at Lapoinya, Forestry Tasmania has to suspend operations in order to protect the safety of workers, and the protester.”

To date, these alleged invasions have resulted in harvesting operations at Lapoinya being suspended for about one and half days, affecting 11 workers and contractors and costing more than $12,500.

“Tasmania Police has also incurred 413 man hours, including 33 hours of overtime, Policing the site, costing taxpayers more than $25,000. When Police are tied-up there, they can’t be helping others elsewhere.”

 

“Another person arrested yesterday would have added to these figures, wasting more Police time and resources and resulting in more lost income for Tasmanian workers and contractors who are trying to earn a living.” Mr. Harriss said.

“With the right to free speech also come responsibilities. I’m sure that most Tasmanians agree that when you invade a workplace and stop people earning a legitimate living, you have crossed the line.”

“Our workplace protection laws strike the right balance. The suggestion that they impede on free speech is ridiculous and ignores the facts.” Mr. Harriss said.

Last week Dr. Bob Brown held a protest rally on Parliament lawns. Also, around 70 anti-forestry protesters, as well as a pro-forestry group, were also able to protest and make their point at the Lapoinya coupe without breaching any laws or hindering operations.

The coupe only became an issue for the Green movement after the Tasmanian public voted them out of Government at the last election. The Greens themselves voted for Lapoinya to be harvested under the so-called peace deal, which was unsurprising considering it is a regrowth forest that has been harvested before.

“The Greens are world champions at moving the goalposts, and Lapoinya is the latest case in point. As the Green movement reverts to their tired old playbook, Tasmanians can be assured that we will stand up for the forest industry, free speech, and the rights of workers.” Mr. Harriss said.