The New South Wales Government, Whitehaven coal and the State Police have all been working hard to turn Maules Creek into a fine example of what can be achieved in a police state. At the behest of Whitehaven coal Maules Creek residents have been stopped from attending Good Friday Church services due to NSW Police road blocks near Boggabri in the northern state.
These blocks have been put in place to prevent ongoing protests that target the controversial Maules Creek mine operated by Whitehaven coal. Wilma Laird was told to turn around and go home or go via Narrabri which would mean a round trip of 160 kms. Very distressed Mrs Laird stated:
If I went via Narrabri, there was no chance I could make the 11 o’clock service in time. I just had to go home. I have been attending Good Friday services in the Boggabri Parish for 77 years and I’ve never been stopped at a Police road block before. It’s outrageous.
Other residents were also stopped and prevented access to that road in fact Rosalyn Druce has been stopped on numerous occasions for vehicle searches and id checks which have prevented visitors from travelling to her property. This is an attempt by the government to prevent landowners allowing protesters to camp on their lands.
The coal company is working with the government to look at ways of charging landowners with assisting the protesters if they continue to let them camp. This is in complete conflict with the democratic and legislative right of protest and not to mention the rights of landowners. It is also a desperate attempt to show that the protest movement against Maules Creek Mine comes from outside ‘instigators’ and ‘professional protestors’. This is not the case as the entire community of Maules Creek is firmly behind the push to stop the the drilling.
Ms Druce said that the road block at this time is for pure harassment, explaining that:
Today they prevented family from coming to my place, on Good Friday. New South Wales is officially a police state, firmly in the grip of the mining companies. The rights of every day people at Maules Creek are being trumped by the interests of Whitehaven coal. No one asked us if we wanted to live in a police state next to a coal mine. No one asked us if we wanted to have our groundwater, air quality and health affected. These people trample over anyone and everyone to make their profits. The state gets its cut and people don’t trust governments anymore. This isn’t a movie, this is real” she said.