Victorian actions against woodchipping

Issue 

Victorian actions against woodchipping

By Rachel Evans

MELBOURNE — Two actions were held in Victoria on December 9 against renewal of 10 woodchipping licences. One action, at the woodchipping mill in Eden, was organised by the Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth and aimed at stopping work by locking the conveyor belt and gates of the mill with bicycle locks.

The action was intended as "a peaceful action to draw attention to the plight of the forests". The action turned out to be anything but peaceful, as workers at the mill turned high pressure hoses on activists who were standing with banners on the log pile. TWS says that the anger was a result of "workers being kept in the dark about the real cost of woodchipping ... it was a sad indictment on the native forest logging industry that such violence is felt and expressed."

Kylie Moon, a spokesperson for the socialist youth organisation Resistance, which organised the second action in Melbourne against the proposed renewals, stated, "This type of action will not build an effective anti-woodchipping campaign. Workers and environmentalists have been played off against each other time and time again."

Resistance organised a speak-out and rally outside Melbourne's GPO with street theatre and speakers from Friends of the Earth, Resistance, the Democratic Socialist Party and Dave Mizon, a delegate in the Australian Workers Union.

Mizon said there is an urgent need for environmentalists to involve themselves with workers' issues. "While environmentalists keep falling into the trap of ignoring workers, industry and the government, who are the real culprits, will continue to pollute, dump and woodchip."

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