Vica Bayley Press Release Massive show of strength puts pressure on Turnbull and Rudd to reject pulp mill

The rally heard from angry farmers, the fishing industry, conservationists and Aboriginal people all opposing the massive chemical pulp mill that Gunns plans to construct on the banks of the Tamar River.

OVER 11,000 people rallied today in Launceston in a massive show of community opposition to the fast-track pulp mill proposal. The huge crowd heard from speakers representing a broad cross-section of the community and then extended along several city blocks of the CBD, bringing traffic to a standstill and stopping astonished passers-by in their tracks.

The rally heard from angry farmers, the fishing industry, conservationists and Aboriginal people all opposing the massive chemical pulp mill that Gunns plans to construct on the banks of the Tamar River. Gardening personality Peter Cundall was MC.

The event sends a clear message to all levels of government, especially Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor Leader Kevin Rudd, that the community believes that the pulp mill will devastate Tasmania’s social, economic and environmental future.

“Tasmanians do not want this pulp mill or its pollution, chemicals and forest destruction,” said Geoff Law, campaign coordinator for The Wilderness Society.

“Tasmanians aspire to a clean and clever future. The pulp mill will destroy more than our environment; it will also pulp our clean green economy and the jobs that depend on it.”

Scallop fisherman John Hammond told the crowd his fears for the survival of the fishing industry if Gunns’ mill is allowed to discharge toxic effluents into Bass Strait. Farmers were well represented by Robert Belcher, a national advocate for rural communities that are being squeezed off their land by the expansion of pulp plantations. Trudy Maluga expressed concern for the future of Aboriginal heritage if the mill goes ahead. Andrew Wilkie, Greens Senate candidate and whistle-blower, condemned the failure of governments to adhere to due process in assessing the impacts of the proposed pulp mill.

“People at today’s rally came from all corners of Tasmania and represented all generations and walks of life. This shows the depth of opposition to Gunns’ pulp mill,” said Mr Law.

“People are concerned about the clean clever future of Tasmania. This pulp mill will devastate our forests and wildlife; pollute our air and water; and undermine our economy and democratic processes.”