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Government rejects Adani's claim of go-soft strategy for activists

Business

The State Government has batted away complaints that both it and the Queensland Police had a “go-soft” approach to anti-Adani activists.

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The Government said 61 activists had faced proceedings on 126 protest-related charges between July 2019 and October 2021.

It follows claims by Adani Australia that courts were handing out soft sentences to activists protesting at its mine site in central Queensland and the Government had a hands-off approach.

The company has been in a long-running battle with activists that has included protestors chaining or locking themselves on to coal trains, equipment and infrastructure.

Adani Australia chief executive Lucas Dow also said workers at the Carmichael mine site were being intimidated by protestors and the activities by activists were putting workers at risk.

“That risk has grown in recent weeks as activists camping without consent on Bravus Mining & Resources’ mining lease intensify their campaign of worker intimidation while their peers use outlawed lock-on devices to disrupt port and railway infrastructure,” Dow said.

“But the Queensland Government seems reluctant to do everything it can to protect mining industry workers from the danger and atmosphere of harassment and intimidation created by activists.

“Activists are camping on our mine site without consent and the Queensland Government will not provide the direction to police in order to move them on.

“The other day this group of anti-coal activists thumbed their noses at State and Commonwealth legislation by landing a chartered helicopter within 100 metres of our operational open-cut mining pit so they could unload party supplies, including what appeared to be alcohol.”

While Adani has complaints about the activities of protestors, activists have also complained about the overreach of the courts. Well-known activist Ben Pennings has also complained on social media last night that former Afghanistan security contractors followed his wife and children despite them never even been to an anti-Adani protest.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said the independence of the courts was a critical element of democracy and while people had the right to protest, they had no right to do so in such a manner that impinged upon the rights of others to go about their lawful business.

“These sorts of offences carry significant penalties, including up to 14 years imprisonment where wilful damage of a rail line occurs,” he said.

He said the Government has introduced laws that give police the power to prevent or disrupt the use of dangerous attachment devices which included a potential jail sentence of up to two years.

“These sorts of offences carry significant penalties, including up to 14 years imprisonment where wilful damage of a rail line occurs.

The Queensland Police said it was continuing investigations into complaints made by Bravus Mining regarding people occupying a parcel of land on a mining lease at the Carmichael mine.

“The QPS has been made aware of an incident in which a helicopter is alleged to have landed on the mining lease at Carmichael. Details are being sought and the information will be forwarded to the appropriate authority for investigation,” Police Media said.

“The QPS acknowledges the cultural and human rights of all persons involved and is undertaking operations to maintain a safe environment while an appropriate response is determined.”

 

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