The Minerals Council of Australia has called on The Greens to stop supporting acts of civil disobedience across work sites as activism becomes increasingly dangerous.
The council says people are in danger of serious injury as protesters continue to chain themselves to vehicles, dangle from machinery dressed as bats, lie in the path of vehicles and intimidate landholders who are happy to have exploration take place on their properties.
The comments come after further disruptions to Whitehaven Coal’s business this week as a 21-year-old man suspended himself from a tripod, blocking access to the company’s rail loader at Gunnedah.
While in Bentley, northern NSW, cattle famer Peter Graham says he has been targeted by protesters who have set up blockades on his property to stop gas company Metgasco accessing his land.
Earlier this week steel spikes were installed on Graham’s driveway and he says activists have previously welded his entrance gate shut.
“The Greens continue to openly endorse civil disobedience classes as part of an untruthful campaign that claims to protect the rights of farmers, “ the MCA said.
“Apart from dangers to life and property, such campaigns prevent workers from getting to jobs that support their families and drain police resources from where they’re needed most.”
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has also called for a stop to the dangerous behaviour.
“The civil disobedience campaign called for by the Greens is irresponsible and dangerous,» APPEA’s chief Paul Fennelly said.
Whitehaven has labelled this week’s protest as “yet another tiresome and contrived act of defiance by a small few, which many in the local community are growing increasingly intolerant of”.
The company says protests will not stop it from going ahead with the development of Maules Creek mine.