March 8, 2016

Equipment sabotage at nine natural gas worksites near Narrabri overnight highlights the need for tougher laws for trespassers and those who damage property.

At the fenced Santos sites, more than $75,000 worth of equipment – including solar panels, batteries, solar regulators and security cameras – was either damaged or stolen.

Of greater concern was the tampering and removal of items at gas well-heads putting personal safety at risk and creating potential for damage to the surrounding environment.

“Illegal acts that place health, safety and the environment at risk are deplorable,” APPEA Chief Executive Dr Malcolm Roberts said.

“We respect the rights of people to peacefully protest but there is no justification for trespassing, vandalising equipment and harassing people for doing their jobs.

Dr Roberts urged the NSW Parliament to support proposed tougher penalties that protect workers and communities from illegal and unsafe protests.

“Protestors have nothing to fear from proposed new penalties if they abide by the law,” he said.

Please note: images available on request

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Chris WardMobile: 0408 033 422Email: >cward@appea.com.au