A woman dressed as a gecko blocked a coal train from entering the Kooragang Island terminals at the weekend, as protests against the industry continue to get more dangerous.
Front Line Action on Coal said it blocked 12 coal trains before the woman was removed from a railway bridge by police and arrested.
The group has been behind the protests against Whitehaven Coal’s controversial Maules Creek mine and claim the project ‘should never have been approved’.
“There is a cloud of corruption over the NSW coal industry”, said Helen War, spokesperson for Front Line Action on Coal.
“Two mining ministers of the former government were found corrupt last year. The new government’s last mining minister Chris Hartcher resigned in disgrace after his offices were raided by the ICAC. These men presided over the granting of scores of coal mining and exploration licences in NSW.”
“Three coal exploration leases were cancelled in the wake of last year’s ICAC inquiries, with Maules Creek named in the Operation Spicer inquiry currently under way.”
War said evidence before ICAC included allegations that former Whitehaven shareholder Nathan Tinkler made illegal political donations.
A spokesperson for the company said it was a ‘complete misrepresentation’ for the group to suggest Whitehaven had been accused of any wrong doing.
‘‘Groups like Front Line Action [on] Coal freely claim the moral high ground but it is disturbing how quickly they abandon the truth and principle in trying to impose their radical view on the rest of us," the spokesman said.
‘‘It is hypocrisy of the highest order.’’
Charged with trespass and interfering with trains, the unidentified gecko woman is due to face Newcastle Local Court later this month.
Meanwhile, protests at the mine’s construction site continue today with 55-year old Simon Wells chaining himself to machinery.