17 C
Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Government set to spy on CSG protesters

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Locals call for automatic revocation of speeding fines on Hinterland Way in first half of April

When local man Nathan Hicks saw posts on Facebook about locals who had received fines they believed were incorrect he decided to look into challenging his own fine. 

Developers push swamp boundaries – will council push back?

It has once again been left to residents to raise serious issues in relation to a development application (DA) that is pushing to overdevelop at 6 Keats Street, Byron Bay at the expense of the environment, in particular the Cumbebin Swamp.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Trainspotters

Jillian Spring, Billinudgel In the article –  At a gathering of trainspotters, 21/4/21 by David Lisle, re Tweed Council Rail...

Lismore City Council declares housing emergency, wants more units

A Lismore City Council housing survey had shown more than 60 per cent of residents were living by themselves or with one other person, Cr Ekins said, prompting ‘a real need for smaller housing or units’.

Save Broken Head

Jan Barham, Broken Head Broken Head is precious but fragile. Again, it’s under threat and it’s urgent to act now....

[author]Story and photo Luis Feliu[/author]

Federal energy minister Martin Ferguson wants the Australian Federal Police and ASIO to target groups campaigning against coal and, by implication, coal-seam gas, Northern Rivers Guardians (NRG) spokesperson Michael McNamara said.

Mr McNamara has described the secret push for increased surveillance by federal police intelligence officers of environmental activists protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities as ‘ridiculous’.

Documents released recently under freedom of information laws confirm police are ‘continually monitoring anti-coalmining and other environmental groups with much of the intelligence collection carried out for the federal police by a private contractor.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mr Ferguson, prompted by lobbying from energy companies, had urged stronger criminal penalties against protests that disrupt ‘critical energy infrastructure’.

‘Local groups likely to be the subject of AFP attention would have to include those hotbeds of environmental radicalism Tweed Shire Council, Rous Water and Northern Rivers Tourism since they have all taken a strong stand in relation to coal-seam gas mining,’ Mr McNamara said.

‘If it wasn’t so serious it would be laughable. Local community members who actively campaign in defence of their communities are not the enemy, they are the heart and soul of a healthy democracy,’ he said.

‘As an example, the farmers and other community members at Gloucester who recently held a blockade to stop AGL from commencing CSG exploration drilling are ordinary community members taking an extraordinary stand against vested interest running rampant over public interest.’

Greens leader Bob Brown said it was ‘intolerable that the federal Labor government is spying on conservation groups’ and wanting to ‘criminalise political protest’.

The documents from the minister’s department revealed that Mr Ferguson wrote to the then attorney-general, Robert McClelland, in September 2009 to raise concerns of ‘issues-motivated activism, and the possibility of disruptions to critical energy infrastructure sites’.

Mr Ferguson sought advice on whether intelligence gathering services of the federal police could be used to help the energy sector and police to ‘manage the increasing risk of disruptions’.

The documents show the energy security branch of Mr Ferguson’s department warned Macquarie Generation and Transgrid of a ‘peaceful mass action’ at Bayswater power station in the Hunter Valley in December 2010 where police arrested 73 protesters who had occupied a railway line used to take coal to the power station. Most of the convictions were overturned on appeal.

Image: Peaceful demonstrators such as these during Murwillumbah’s huge anti-coal-seam gas rally last year could be targeted by federal spying agencies and charged if such protests are deemed to disrupt ‘critical energy infrastructure’, such as coal-seam gas wells on the Northern Rivers.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.