Mill protest hits log truck drivers in the pocket

mill protest

Forestry protesters said they had no beef with the log truck drivers, but they were still the ones left paying the price for their recent action at the Artec mill at Bell Bay.

Dozens of loaded trucks were prevented from entering the mill by members of the Bob Brown Foundation on Friday.

Organisers said they were protesting against the woodchipping of Tasmania’s old growth and native forests and about 20 protesters scaled a 30-metre loading gantry to gain access to the site overnight, and two people used barrels to chain themselves to an entry gate, preventing access.

It was the first woodchip mill protest in Tasmania for a decade.

Frustrated truckie Stuart Lindsay told ABC News that he’d paid a hefty price for being locked out.

“A lot of these drivers probably get paid to sit here and wait, but others don’t. I’m on a load rate,” he said.

“So all the hours I’ve been sitting here since probably 7 o’clock I don’t get paid, so I’m sitting here for nothing.”

The chief executive of the Tasmanian Forest Products Association Nick Steel called the protest “unfair”.

“As we have repeatedly stated, we support free speech but it is unfair and unjust to invade workplaces, causing loss of income and stress to your fellow Tasmanians trying to make a lawful living, simply in order to make your point.

“We urge the Government and Labor Party to sit down together and find a way to pass through the Parliament stronger protections for hardworking Tasmanians seeking to make a lawful living in our renewable forestry industry.”

Protester Gabby Knox said they wanted to stop the trucks from being able to unload.

“Obviously we have no hate for the truckies whatsoever ,we understand they are just doing a job,” she said.

“Unfortunately that job is in direct contradiction of what we believe in.

“We’ve tried writing to politicians, we’ve tried all of the other avenues and it’s juts not being heard so this was the next step, direct action.”

Tasmania Police confirmed that two arrests had been made.

The two people – one a 27-year-old Newstead man, the other a 25-year-old Blackstone Heights woman – have been charged with trespass and will appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on March 31.

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