The statement below was released by a coalition of groups that held a protest on July 5, disabling a coal seam gas rig in Pilliga State Forest in NSW.
* * *
Yesterday, in a first for NSW, a coal seam gas rig was the target of a peaceful protest, with a protester scaling 25m into the air and hanging suspended from the rig for almost 16 hours. The rig was working in the Pilliga Forest, near Narrabri in north-west NSW.
The protester, Warrick Jordan was arrested late on Tuesday afternoon, and spent close to five hours being processed by police at the Narrabri police station.
“It was an historic day yesterday, which we believe will be remembered as a turning point in the fight against coal seam gas in NSW. This growing peoples movement has just entered a new phase of powerful direct action and non-cooperation in NSW” said Ms Carmel Flint, spokesperson for the Northern Inland Council for the Environment, who attended the protest.
“The police have responded to these events by really throwing the book at Warrick Jordan.
“He has been charged with five separate offences, including two offences under the Crimes Act and two offences under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act. The charges range from entering inclosed land to risking the safety of others and causing damage to property.
“These charges will be vigorously defended. The protest was entirely peaceful, it occurred in a public forest, and there was no damage of any sort as a result of it.
“The only damage that is occurring in the Pilliga Forest is being done by Eastern Star Gas. They are destroying bushland and habitat for threatened species, and they plan to turn one of our most precious forests into a giant gas field.
“The proposed gas field in the Pilliga Forest is the thin edge of the wedge – this project will entrench the coal seam gas industry in north-western NSW and spread out across bushlands and farmlands alike, representing a serious threat to the Great Artesian Basin.
“We will continue to work together with landholders and concerned citizens alike to fight the threat which this represents to our natural assets, our communities and our way of life,” she said.
Information or comment: Carmel Flint 0400 521474