Rally to support jailed anti-pulp mill activist

September 16, 2011
Vigil for Ali Alishah outside Tasmanian parliament, September 16. Photo: Susan Austin

About 50 people attended a vigil on the parliament lawns in Hobart on September 16 in support of Ali Alishah, a jailed anti-pulp mill protester.

Alishah was arrested on September 5 at Gunns' proposed pulp mill site in the Tamar Valley in northern Tasmania after locking on to a truck that was entering the site. He has already spent almost two weeks in jail and will likely stay in custody until September 26.

A long-term forest campaigner, Alishah was taking action with the group Code Green, which has been conducting civil disobedience actions at the pulp mill site.

A further nine activists were arrested at the site on September 16, eight of whom had locked themselves onto machinery.

Code Green says Gunns' construction permits expired on August 31. The permits required Gunns to have “substanitally commenced” by that date or else the permits would lapse.

Gunns had not carried out any substantial work on the site for more than a year and are yet to announce a joint venture partner or financier for the mill.

In early September, they began some earthworks despite the fact the Environment Protection Authority has not yet made a ruling on the validity of the permit.

Code Green spokesperson Jared Irwin said on September 16: “The government and regulatory bodies remain stubbornly unwilling to ensure due process is observed and Gunns Ltd are accountable for their illegal construction.

“Instead we see the government throwing more tax payer funding towards Gunns Ltd.”

Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings announced on September 14 that her government would give Gunns $23 million in return for the company agreeing to end the logging of native forests. Giddings also said she had cancelled Gunns’ $25 million debt to the state-owned Forestry Tasmania.

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