The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the State Government’s announcement of new powers to crack down on disruptive activists.
A new offence will be created aimed at stopping dangerous devices being used by protesters to shut down public thoroughfares and infrastructure.
This new offence will make it illegal to possess such devices.
And police will have the power to search a person or vehicle suspected of carrying one of these devices.
“QRC supports the right of every Queenslander to protest peacefully. But by locking on to rail lines or blocking trains, activists clearly cross the line to becoming a danger to themselves, to the safety of train drivers and a menace to the wellbeing of the entire community,” QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said.
“There have been too many near misses from reckless activists who disregard safety by blocking railway lines or roads.
“Safety is the number one priority for everyone who works in or with the resources industry.
“The careless actions of protestors who disrupt rail lines make a mockery of those safety standards. But hypocritically at the same time those reckless activists are relying on the strict safety environment and skilled staff who work on the rail network to prevent a tragedy.”
Police Minister Mark Ryan said Queensland had entered a new era of extremist action.
“The changes to the law we are introducing will have no impact on the ability of anyone to protest lawfully,” he said.
“But the actions we are witnessing now are not protests.
“What we are seeing now from these extremists is a flagrant disregard for the law and the rights of others.”