The nation’s leading counter-terrorism organisation is monitoring some environmentalists following Government warnings that protestors pose greater risks than terrorists.
According to Fairfax Media Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has warned coal protests could have "major trade and investment implications" for Australia’s economy.
Ferguson also privately warned that protests at power stations and export terminals could have "life threatening" consequences.
”The risk of protest-related disruptions in the energy sector is likely to continue in the near future … these disruptions pose a real threat to the reliable delivery of electricity and other essential services,” he said.
Ferguson described the risk of energy disruptions by green groups as having the potential for "life-threatening repercussions across the community".
Fairfax Media reports ASIO has been monitoring and advising on security issues arising from some activists, and suggested privately green actions pose greater risks to energy infrastructure than terrorists.
ASIO describes itself as "the only agency in the Australian intelligence community authorised in the normal course of its duties to undertake investigations into the activities of Australian persons".
Earlier this year leaked documents from a coalition of environmental activists lead by Greenpeace detailed a secret plan to fund "scandal research" in the hope of shutting down Australia’s coal industry.
The documents included plans for activists to drag companies through the courts and prop up community backlash against the industry.
Greens leader Bob Brown told Fairfax Media it was "intolerable" the Government allowed ASIO to monitor environmentalists.
He said the Government was using ASIO as a "political weapon" on behalf of "foreign-owned mining corporations".