Groundswell shuts down Ta Ann veneer mill (Tasmania)
Grassroots environmental group Groundswell have today shut down operations at Ta Ann’s veneer mill in Smithton, with a peaceful protest. The group are highlighting the ongoing loss of Tasmania’s forests by Ta Ann, 2 protesters are locked onto a conveyor belt inside the mill, completely shutting down operations. A number of other members of the group are present and holding a banner in front of the mill, which reads; “TA ANN – SELLING TASMANIAN FOREST DESTRUCTION”. Ta Ann is a Malaysian-based timber company that has been accused of human rights violations and continues to destroy pristine rainforest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Ta Ann has had logging contracts in Tasmania from 2006 and is the driving force behind the ongoing logging of old growth forests.
“Today’s protest is being held at the Ta Ann Smithton mill to oppose the ongoing devastation of Tasmania’s native forests just for the sake of a quick profit.” Groundswell spokesperson Dr Lisa Searle said.
“As the forest peace talks have carried on over the last 3 years, the destruction of Tasmania’s native forests has continued. The talks have so far failed to deliver any form of permanent protection and the future of these ecosystems hangs in the balance. .” Dr Searle continued.
“There is currently a very limited market for Tasmanian woodchips, and Ta Ann is driving the continuing destruction of huge tracts of forest. These forests are being clear-felled just to remove a few select logs for Ta Ann while low-grade sawlogs and woodchip-grade logs are being left behind to rot in these decimated areas.” Said Dr Searle.
The protesters will stay in place locked onto machinery until they are removed and Groundswell will continue standing up for the protection of our wild natural state.
*Update: ENVIRONNMENTAL activists have been removed from a conveyor belt at the Ta Ann veneer mill in Smithton.
Tasmania Police officers were called to the site earlier today after two protesters from green group Groundswell chained themselves to machinery inside the timber processing plant. Several other activists gathered outside the mill.
Groundswell said the “peaceful protest” was aimed at highlighting the ongoing loss of Tasmanian forests to provide the timber used in the mill.
Ta Ann Tasmania said it was disappointed the group was illegally protesting at its Smithton mill today.
“Ta Ann Tasmania also wishes to point out that it is not a logger, as falsely claimed, but a "timber processor",” a company spokesperson said.
Tasmania Police issued a short statement at 12.25pm, saying the Ta Ann demonstration had been cleared