Premier in New Norfolk to promote worker protection

A photo from the premier’s Facebook
page showing Friday’s visit to Les
 Walkden Enterprises at New Norfolk.

A BUSINESS in New Norfolk provided the backdrop for a set-piece media event promoting the State Government’s proposed law to prevent protesters from stopping other people going about their work. “The Liberal Government is committed to rebuilding the forestry industry and protecting workers,” Premier Will Hodgman said after meeting forest workers at Les Walkden Enterprises on Friday.

“Industry stalwart Les Walkden has been subject to protests over the past three decades that have caused millions of dollars worth of damage and loss of production,” Mr Hodgman said.

“Sadly, this isn’t a rare story and that’s why, as promised before the election, we have introduced Legislation that protects Tasmanians from extremist protesters invading their workplace. We made a commitment to take a strong stand against protest activity that stops others from legally going about their work. Tasmanians voted overwhelmingly for our plan, and we are getting on with the job of delivering it,” Mr Hodgman said.

Mr Hodgman said Labor and the Greens had opposed the new law despite its similarities to their own law introduced last year to prohibit protests outside reproductive health clinics. This included “a 150 metre exclusion zone around abortion clinics includes, individual fines of almost $10,000, no-go zones for protesters, prohibiting the hindrance or obstruction of a place and allowing police to arrest protesters without a warrant,” he said.

“We support the right to peaceful protest, and this Bill will not change that. Neither will it impact upon protected industrial action under the auspices of the Fair Work Act. Enough is enough. Tasmanians have a right to earn a living, whether that be in forestry, mining or any other industry,” Mr Hodgman said.

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