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Labor remains ready to work on bipartisan approach to protest laws to protect timber industry

  • Offer of a bipartisan approach to establish workable law remains
  • Labor wants to work in the best interests of resources industry
  • Dangerous stunts should not be allowed to continue

Labor stands ready to go back to the drawing board with the government to establish realistic and workable protest laws now that its Workplaces Amendment Bill has been voted down by the Legislative Council.

Shadow Resources Minister Shane Broad said after the long expected defeat of the Bill in the Upper House, it was time for the government and Minister Guy Barnett to concede he had gotten it badly wrong and adopt a bipartisan approach to draft legislation that would actually work.

“Labor is more than ready to work in the best interests of the Tasmanian resources industry to draft legislation that will work and not criminalise any protest on any footpath or road in the state,” Dr Broad said.

“Under the legislation that was defeated today, every Tasmanian – including nurses protesting about a lack of resources, factory workers demanding better leave entitlements or TAFE teachers fighting the Government’s privatisation agenda – could be fined or even jailed.

“The right to protest is fundamental but what we need to target specifically are protest groups like the Bob Brown Foundation who continue to hinder the legitimate activities of the Tasmanian timber and mining industries by staging dangerous stunts for social media including standing on loose log piles for photos and locking on to moving machinery.

“There are tested models from other states that with bipartisan support would provide certainty and protection for the forest sector and other industries targeted by workplace invasions.

“I hope Minister Barnett is now ready to work with us to find a solution to this serious issue.”

Shane Broad MP  
Shadow Minister for Resources