Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Taylor Martin has described protesters disrupting coal trains in the Hunter as ‘a pack of idiots, bused in from out of town to cause trouble’.
In a statement to the NSW Parliament on Wednesday, the MLC said activists have delayed $60 million in exports and $100,000 in royalties per train.
“The actions of these activists is incredibly distressing to those in the community – the majority of them come from out of town – some not even from New South Wales. They are idiots. Just a pack of idiots, bused in from out of town to cause trouble.”
“I rise to support our mining workers, train drivers and rail workers, the police, and everyone else who has had their safety and their livelihoods threatened by these idiots from the rag-tag so-called Blockade Australia.”
In the eleventh day of protests, two activists disabled machinery and locked themselves to a ground level structure at the Kooragang Island, despite warnings of 25 year sentences from NSW Police.
NSW Police have formed Strike Force Tuohy to target the activists, with the New South Wales police minister David Elliot receiving legal advice that he could use a obscure charge relating to interfering with a railway with the intention of causing death or bodily harm.
In a media statement, the activist group said they are planning a further week of disruptive action in June.
“Blockade Australia is targeting the world’s biggest coal port and the surrounding railway network to disrupt the operation of infrastructure vital to Australia, and draw attention to Australia’s role in the climate and ecological crisis.”