Councillors move to allow protesters to stay at site

NARRABRI Shire Council will today hold its second extraordinary meeting within a week after a challenge was issued to its new hard-line stance on protesters camped in the Leard State Forest.

Councillors Bevan O’Regan, John Tough and Lloyd Finlay have lodged a motion to rescind last week’s decision to evict environmentalists camped without authorisation on a council-controlled road reserve.

The council has been accused of playing politics after resolving to act on complaints from Barwon LAC and mining company Boggabri Coal about protesters living at the Front Line Action on Coal’s camp for the past 540 days. The rescission motion asks that the council “suspend action until all parties have sufficient time to begin the process of applying for approvals to camp on road reserves”.

Cr O’Regan told The Leader he did not believe the community approved of the council’s decision to intervene in the long-running stand-off between the protesters and the mining companies.

“I haven’t come across one person – not one – that wants them removed from the camp,” he said.

“All the farmers in the area are contributing food, firewood, water and fuel, and they wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t in favour of them protesting.”

Cr Finlay, who voted against the original recommendations, will be absent from the meeting after it was brought forward from February 4.

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