Organisers say 5000 people crammed the Cascade Gardens in today’s mammoth protest against the proposed cable car on kunanyi / Mt Wellington.
Residents Opposed to the Cable Car’s Ted Cutlan gave the estimate after the event was delayed for half an hour to accommodate people walking, having had to park more than one kilometre away.
Booker Prize winning Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan told the cheering throng that the cable car proponents proposal to have children go up the mountain for free was nothing new - the mountain had been free for children for forty thousand years. He called for a review of monetary interests which had an investment in the project but had also been crucial to decisions made about it. Invoking the memory of famed Tasmanian wilderness photographer Peter Dombrovskis, he also called for kunanyi / Mt Wellington to be made a National Park and listed as part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Veteran environmentalist Bob Brown predicted that Carlton United Breweries, who will make a decision about providing land by July, will give the cable car the thumbs down. Most of the crowd roared assent to his proposal to ‘go to the top of the mountain’ if work on the project proceeds. He called on Premier Will Hodgman to listen to the people and reverse his support for the cable car.
Denison Independent MHR Andrew Wilkie said, ‘It has been a “monumental achievement” by the Hodgman government to make so many people cross.’
Greens Hobart alderman Anna Reynolds said the Hobart City Council, which had been in control of the mountain since 1906, had been bypassed by the Hodgman government in giving preliminary approval to the proponents.
Heather Sculthorpe representing the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said kunanyi had been taken brutally from her community and now the cable car proponents had moved to steal the domain name rights to ‘kunanyi’ with no consultation with the TAC which opposes the project.
Surpassing the March for the Tarkine earlier this year, this was the largest environmental protest in Tasmania for more than a decade.