On Sunday peaceful protest, at Willow Tree, NSW, halted Whitehaven Coal’s trains from reaching Newcastle Port.
Trains were stopped for five hours after 33-year-old Jamie Dunnit scaled, and occupied, the locomotives pulling the wagons laden with coal from Whitehaven’s coalmine.
This community action occurred in the midst of a government crackdown on people who try to defend themselves from the impact of fossil fuel industries through peaceful protest.
‘New legislation in New South Wales means that a person protecting their communities from mining will face a similar fine to a company that is in breach of environmental regulations,’ said former mining worker and Front Line Action On Coal spokesperson Jason McLean.
Mr McLean said premier Mike Baird ‘continues to protect the interests of the very same companies involved in the [ICAC] scandal.’
Jamie Dunnit, 33, who works in bush regeneration spent the afternoon atop a coal train at Willow Tree.
‘These [anti protest] laws are a last ditch attempt from a dying industry to save itself as people stand up for their rights,’ Mr Dunnit said.
‘We are showing them that we will not be deterred from protesting. We will not be silenced,’ he added.
More than 400 people have already been arrested over the past four years in protest against the destruction of the Leard State Forest by Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine.
Mr McLean said of the action that civil disobedience ‘would not stop until the government puts the wellbeing of its citizens ahead of that of big business.’
‘We call upon the NSW Government to help communities transition to sustainable economies as the mining boom ends and the world moves towards ensuring a safe climate future. Mike Baird’s condemnation will not stop us from standing up against dodgy companies like Whitehaven. We will stand up to them from the pit to the port.’