Activists from the Bob Brown Foundation have been given the legal all-clear to protest in Tasmanian forests after a ban issued by the state’s workplace safety regulator was lifted.
WorkSafe Tasmania last week issued a ban on the protesters over “unsafe behaviours” and threatened fines of up to $500,000 if they didn’t comply.
It prompted legal action from the foundation, with Bob Brown labelling the edict unconstitutional.
The ban was on Wednesday set aside in a Hobart magistrates court hearing after agreement from both parties.
“As you heard in court, their representative conceded that the notice was too wide,” the lawyer representing the foundation, Roland Browne, said outside court.
“Next time the regulator wants to try and use work health and safety to stop protests in Tasmania he is going to have to think twice and confine himself to the law.”
Brown said anti-logging activists in the northwest Tarkine rainforest remain undeterred.
“The defenders of the Tarkine are in good heart and I have been with them all the way through these very trying times,” he said.
Several foundation protesters are facing criminal charges after earlier this month chaining themselves to machinery and gates at forestry operations.
Prior to the court hearing, WorkSafe indicated the ban was about protecting the safety of activists and workers.
In its letter to the foundation, WorkSafe claimed protesters engaged in high-risk construction work and were at risk of falling from wooden tripods and platforms.
The regulator also had issues with the risk of protesters falling or being crushed when climbing machinery.
The foundation argued the ban was too broad-ranging and was contrary to the constitution because it stopped communication about political matters.