Aug 12, 2019

QRC call to clamp down on anti-coal activists

QRC call to clamp down on anti-coal activists

The Queensland Resources Council is urging the Federal Government to broaden new trespass laws aimed at anti-farming activists to include protests against mining-related businesses and infrastructure.

The QRC has made a submission to the Senate committee inquiry looking at the Criminal Code Amendment (Agricultural Protection) Bill 2019.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said while everyone supported the right to protest, activists shouldn’t be able to trespass on farms, mines, railways and ports, or block lawful businesses from going about their day-to-day activities.

“There’s no difference between vegan activists storming a farm and anti-coal activists blocking a rail line,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Both show complete disrespect for everyday Queenslanders who are working hard to make a living so they can support their families.

“There should be no tolerance of this type of behaviour from activists who are nothing more than anarchists obsessed with disrupting people’s lives.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane.

“We’re calling on the Federal Government to extend the Bill to cover all legitimate businesses including mining, rail and port infrastructure and to complement the Private Members Bill on illegal activist behaviour which the LNP has brought forward to the Queensland State Parliament.”

The QRC has also supported harsher penalties for activists who break the law and commit illegal trespass, as proposed under the Criminal Code (Trespass Offences) Amendment Bill currently before the Queensland State Parliament.

“Existing state laws do not provide a significant deterrent to unlawful trespass, because it’s often the case that fines are small and no convictions are recorded,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“This is despite the fact that trespass on rail lines is extremely dangerous and disruptive.

“Protestors have characterised this type of illegal trespass as ‘non-violent, safe, direct action’ but such a description is a fantasy. 

“Ironically, they are relying on the strict safety environment and skilled staff who work on the rail network to prevent protesters being seriously injured or killed. 

“There is a grave risk to protestor safety, train driver safety and community safety from this type of reckless action.

“The QRC supports action in both the State and Federal Parliaments to prevent activists from using the democratic right to protest to cross the line into trespass or interfering with lawful business.”

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