The NSW government has refused to rule out arresting and forcibly removing the Knitting Nannas, the popular peaceful campaigners against coal-seam gas (CSG), under controversial new anti-mining protest laws.
Labor says the state’s energy minister Anthony Roberts has ‘made it clear the Knitting Nannas won’t be safe from new anti-mining protest laws proposed by the Liberals and Nationals’.
Opposition leader Luke Foley said that when Mr Roberts was asked in parliament yesterday if he would guarantee the government’s anti-mining protest laws would not see the Nannas forcibly removed and arrested during community protests, he said ‘No’.
‘The new laws being proposed by the Baird-Grant government will increase punishment for protesters from $550 to $5,500,’ Mr Foley said.
Police will also be given powers to issue ‘move on’ orders.
The Knitting Nannas Against Gas formed almost four years ago in the northern rivers as a response to contentious plans by mining companies to turn the region into a gasfield.
They often sat outside the Lismore office of National Party MP Thomas George and the Casino office of miner Metgasco, singing and kitting their anti-CSG message.
Mr Foley visited the group during last year’s election campaign to announce Labor’s policy to ban CSG mining in the northern rivers.
‘The Knitting Nannas are Gandhi-like in their commitment to peaceful protesting’, he said.
‘It’s ludicrous that the minister won’t protect a group of seniors who are simply expressing their concerns about the impacts of CSG mining.
‘The group represents the strong sentiment of the northern rivers community that CSG mining is not welcome.’
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