Saturday, 19 March 2016

A look at those the Liberal-Nationals Coalition labels "eco-terrorists"

NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts,  media release, 7 March 2016:

NEW LAWS PROTECT WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES FROM ILLEGAL PROTESTS The NSW Government today announced legislation will be introduced to the NSW Parliament to increase enforcement powers with respect to illegal protests. The Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 delivers on the NSW Government’s commitment to ensure that the right to peaceful protest is balanced with the need to ensure public safety, the safety of workers, the protection of communities and lawful business activity. Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, Anthony Roberts, said the reforms enable Police to take a more proactive approach to managing and prosecuting illegal activity. “The NSW Government makes clear its support for the right to legal protests conducted in accordance with the Summary Offences Act 1988,” Mr Roberts said. “However unlawful activities put the safety of protesters and workers at risk and are costly for businesses and the public. “Communities also suffer, with the deployment of Police resources reducing the capacity to respond to critical incidents.” Key reforms include:
* Creating the offence of ‘aggravated unlawful entry on inclosed lands’, with a maximum penalty of $5,500 under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, including amendments relating to illegal protests which occur on mine sites;
* Extending the meaning of ‘mine’ to include petroleum workplaces, in connection with the existing indictable offence of intentionally or recklessly interfering with a mine under the Crimes Act 1900;
* Additional search and seizure powers for Police to deal with people who intend to ‘lock-on’ to equipment or structures for the purpose of interfering with a business or undertaking, and that is likely to be used in a way that poses a serious risk to the safety of any person, under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002; and
* Removing limitations to allow Police to give directions in public places to prevent obstructions of persons or traffic for a demonstration, protest, procession or organised assembly under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002. For more information visit:

The departmental website was not so coy as Minister Roberts:

What are the maximum penalties?

The maximum penalty for the aggravated offence will be $5,500. It will apply in relation to land on which a business or undertaking is being conducted and where the offenders, while on the lands, interfere with, or attempt or intend to interfere with, the conduct of the business or undertaking or do anything that gives rise to a serious risk to the safety of the person or any other person on those lands.

The Bill amends the Crimes Act 1900 to extend the meaning of ‘mine’ in connection with the existing indictable offence of intentionally or recklessly interfering with a mine. This carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of seven years. [my red bolding]

This bill was passed by both houses of the NSW Parliament on 15 March 2016.

NSW Northern Rivers communities are watching these draconian measures with interest and, I suspect, a firm resolve to stand their ground in any future disputes over inappropriate or environmentally devastating mining or other development proposals. 

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