Students protest pulp mill

November 10, 2007

More than 500 students in Launceston walked out of class on November 8 to protest against the planned pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. This followed a similar protest of 600 students in Hobart the previous week.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Bickel, one of the organisers, told Green Left Weekly that this rally was needed because "I don't trust Gunns' promise not to touch old-growth forests for this mill". Jacob Atkins, another organiser, said: "The government has ignored what people want. People power stopped the Franklin Dam and we'll keep on fighting."

The rally was addressed by students who were concerned about the impact the mill would have on their future. Evelyn Cassidy, 11, said during her speech that "Gunns puts out a lot of propaganda to convince us this mill is built for us, but it's only built for them".

The rally was also addressed by Rick Pilkington from local group Tasmanians Against the Pulp Mill and Greens candidate Tom Millen.

Young people around Tasmania realise that the pulp mill will harm their future and are organising together in a new group called Students Against the Pulp Mill. According to member Gabby Forward, they plan to get more young people involved in stopping the mill and also organise more protests in the future.

Federal environment minister Malcolm Turnbull gave conditional approval to the pulp mill in October. One of the conditions is for an Environmental Impact Management Plan to be completed before construction can begin. The November 9 Hobart Mercury reported that there is still significant work to be done to fulfil those conditions, although Gunns CEO John Gay said again that construction would begin by the end of the year.

Another large rally against the pulp mill is being organised by the Wilderness Society for November 17 at 12.30pm in Franklin Square, Hobart.

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