Contributed by Ugly
Fourteen opponents of the Adani rail line shipping coal to Abbot Point, have been fined a total of $80,000, because on 18 January they took part in an action that blocked access to the terminal for several hours.
The rail access is part of the Carmichael coal mine project in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland.
Four of the charged appeared in court yesterday in Bowen. They are Coffs Harbour locals from the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group. They had chained themselves to the project and fined $8,000 each.
Ella Skerrett, Daniel Skerrett, John Ross and Liisa Rusanen all pleaded guilty to three charges including trespass, interfering with port operations and contravening police direction.
When fines of this size are ordered against people, who have only protested what they consider a great wrong and have done nothing to put any other person at risk, the court has acted in a way that is grossly disproportionate. When this happens, one just has to ask, is it politically motivated? On the face of it, the simple answer is yes.
It is not hard to see why this is the case. The whole Adani matter has been a great embarrassment to the Queensland government and the federal government in Canberra has affected too. Then there is Adani himself, well known for splashing around gifts and making friends in high places.
The truth of the matte is that the Adani projects are extremely unpopular, so much so, that even the banks have shied away from providing funding. They fear losing a lot of customers.
Given this context, the use of big fines is a means to try and intimidate activists. Perhaps Adani and his supporters hope that if enough are scared off, the wheels might fall off the campaign to stop the projects. It is not working.
Ella Skerrett, a horticulturalist from Bonville, said she was surprised by the size her $8000 fine
“While I’m disappointed with the fine, I feel it was worth the effort and personal sacrifice. The fine is nothing compared to the damage that coal is causing by fuelling climate change,” she said.
For John Ross, nurseryman and bookshop owner, it was his second arrest protesting Adani.
“The movement to stop coal is growing and I felt really well supported at today’s court case. I’m more determined than ever to find ways to push for stronger action on climate change,” Mr Ross said.
“With our government failing to take the action needed to stop climate change, ordinary people like us are taking peaceful direct action to keep coal in the ground. For the sake of my children and all of us who will suffer the consequences of the climate crisis, we have a duty to act, but we’re running out of time,” Liisa Rusanen said.
Video from Frontline Action on Coal