Two NSW Greens MPs have been arrested and fined for protesting against the proposed Adani Carmichael coalmine, while another front was opened in the long-running battle against the development.
Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker were among 17 people arrested on Wednesday morning for trespassing at the controversial site, 270 kilometres west of Bowen in Queensland.
Mr Buckingham and Ms Walker were fined $250 each after being issued with a police infringement notice for trespassing unlawfully at a place of business.
“I’m proud to stand with activists in defence of climate and country, and respect all those people around Australia and internationally who want to stop the Adani coal project,” Mr Buckingham said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Although we are MPs from NSW this is an issue of national and international significance. Adani represents a line in the sand for all those concerned about climate change who do not want to see a new coal precinct opened up in Australia.”
Ms Walker said the proposal was “tearing Indigenous communities apart” and was offering “a sub standard agreement to traditional owners for their land”.
About 5am on Wednesday, Queensland Police were alerted that 35 people were blockading the railway construction site near the proposed mine.
Fourteen protesters entered the site and climbed onto vehicles and machinery about 6am, a police spokesman told The New Daily.
A woman in her 60s locked herself to a boundary gate with a metal bike lock around her neck. Police were working to remove her.
Seventeen people were arrested for trespass and failure to comply with direction. Nine of those people were issued with infringement notices after moving on.
Eight people continued to fail to comply and they remained under arrest on Wednesday afternoon.
Adani referred to the ACCC
The protest comes after community legal service Environmental Justice Australia (EJA) referred the Indian miner to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) over its jobs spruiking.
— FrontLineActionCoal (@FLACCoal) December 5, 2017
Acting for Townsville jobseeker Chris McCoomb, a volunteer coordinator with the Australian Unemployed Workers Union, EJA is urging the ACCC to investigate Adani for “misleading vulnerable jobseekers”.
EJA says “inflated” claims its mine will create 10,000 jobs is leading jobseekers to spend thousands of dollars on training for “jobs that will never exist”.
Mr McCoomb’s 17-page complaint names at least one Queensland mining training outfit that is using Adani’s “inflated figures … to promote sometimes costly training courses and certifications” to cash-strapped jobseekers.
That company advertises a one day “mining induction course” for $650.
In 2015, Land Court of Queensland president Carmel MacDonald found Adani had significantly “overstated” its job figures in court evidence and to the State Government.
Ms MacDonald accepted testimony the project would “increase average annual employment by 1,206 jobs in Queensland and 1,464 jobs in Australia”, not by 10,000.
EJA lawyer David Barnden told the ACCC “the evidence for misleading and deceptive conduct … is strong”.
“ACCC is urged to take action to prevent the continued dissemination of Adani’s misleading or deceptive statements that are directed at jobseekers.
“Vulnerable jobseekers should not be misled into spending money or training courses or certification without the true number of expected direct and indirect jobs being published by Adani.”
An ACCC spokesman declined to comment on the Adani complaint. An Adani spokesman could not be reached for comment.