Draconian laws

Ed, After a lengthy break to enjoy lazy nannerly activities the Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas have resumed their knit-ins in Grafton. A major incentive for taking up the needles again has been the draconian NSW Government laws against protesters. The Nannas find it fascinating that the Baird Government has substantially increased penalties for protesters while dramatically slashing penalties for mining companies which do the wrong thing. We understand that protesters may face fines of $5,500 (an increase from $550) for trespass or could face up to 7 years jail for interfering with mining operations. The new lax rules for mining companies highlight the Government’s bias. For example, mining without authority, which under the former laws was a $1.1 million fine plus $110,000 a day for a company if successfully prosecuted in court, is now “punished” with a $5,000 penalty notice – a mere slap on the wrist. These changes were obviously introduced at the behest of the mining industry which we, along with many other community members, believe has far too much influence on governments. The Nannas see these anti-protest laws as an infringement of civil rights. It is very obvious to the Nannas that the NSW Government’s priorities lie with the big polluting end of town. If Minister Roberts and Premier Baird think that these harsh laws will stifle community opposition, they are very mistaken. Leonie Blain, Grafton Knitting Nannas Against Gas