How new laws will make it easy to shut down community events

New laws before state parliament will make it easier for protesters to shut down popular events such as motocross, rodeo and organised hunting activities.

The Environment Protection Bill 2018 currently before parliament will allow any ‘eligible person’ to seek a court order shutting any activity down which creates the risk of pollution or waste being discharged into the environment, even if the activity hasn’t yet happened.  This is described in section 309 of the bill.

The definition of pollution, as proposed in the bill, is significantly different from the current definition used. The proposed definition is that pollution is a solid, gas, liquid, heat or noise.  Noise is further defined as including any sound or vibration.

The introductory speech said the bill “casts a positive obligation on duty holders to proactively minimise risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution.” 

Click here to see the bill | Click here to see the explanatory memorandum

Anyone who thinks they are affected can apply for an order

So who can apply for an order? Section 308 of the bill defines who is an ‘eligible person’ who can apply for an order, as being any person “whose interests are affected” by a contravention of the general duty.

In other words, anyone who says they are affected can apply for an order.

The effect of the bill is to make it easy for such a person to shut down the activity they are complaining about, simply because of the risk that pollution might occur.   For example, they could apply to shut down the opening of duck season, on the basis that there is a risk that wads and steel shot will be discharged.

The new laws could equally apply to the timber industry, the running of battery chicken farms, motocross – any activity which creates any form of pollution under the new definition.

A temporary fix can create permanent problems

While there is a public interest test which needs to be satisfied before an order is granted, the bill also allows the person to seek an interim order (s310) ex parte.  This means the temporary order can be sought without the person engaging in the activity being present, or having to demonstrate public interest.

It would allow protesters to ambush any activity they don’t like, simply by taking out an interim order a day or so before the activity occurs.

These laws are clearly dangerous and need to be rejected, for the benefit of thousands of local communities. 

Massive penalties

The new laws also carry fines of up to $1.6m and allow for cost orders to be made against the person engaging in the activity.

The laws come up for debate in the lower house this week.  We’ll be watching with interest to see who has figured out this is a pre-election effort to appease the Greens.

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  1. What you bums in Parliament doing people didn’t vote for you bums to make up laws and make this Country a nanny country so piss off and leave Austraila alone. you will not stop me or my family enjoying my activities because a protester doesn’t Like it. there will be hell to pay if they get in my way who’s going to pay for the damage To my property done buy protester who the Government yeah right I see a protester just run and keep running

  2. Hans Witteveen

    Something similar set precedent in a US State years ago, from which we could learn in Australia. Protesters would get a Court Injunction against the Game Authority on the eve of the hunting season, and the rangers would have to stop hunters from entering the forests. When the matter eventually came before the Court and the Injunction was lifted because the claim ‘had no merit’, it would be too late in the season for the hunt to proceed. This became a predictable practice, therefore the government Game Authority reserved a Court appointment to anticipate protest. Sure enough, on the eve of hunting season opening, a claim for injunction was lodged. The rangers in the field were instructed to hold the waiting hunters instead of sending them home. The protest claimant was invited to immediately submit their case to court, resulting in pleas that ‘we need time to prepare our case’ which got the Judge’s response that they should have been ready when they put in their claim for injunction. The Court ruled the injunction claim ‘had no merit’ and was dismissed. The word went out to the rangers the hunt is on, let hunters go in’. One result of all these delays was negative for animal welfare, the consequent population build up had caused habitat loss and animal malnourishment – a great win for greenies.

  3. Patriotic Australian

    DO NOT LET THIS GET VOTED IN. Arrest all who push for it, for crimes against this country! You are the enemy!
    Anyone that wants this for Australia, should migrate to another country immediately. You are assaulting our freedoms and way of life, that hundreds of thousands of Australians have sacrificed their lives to protect and uphold. You are disgusting vile people of the lowest order, and are an embarrassment to this country! Nothing but UN agenda pandering leftist greenie appeasing pond scum personified! You are not Australian!

  4. Your blog shows a total misunderstanding of how the laws would work. The laws will make sure that polluters who are breaking the law are not allowed to pollute anymore. If you had a big polluting company living next door to you, polluting your land and your family wouldn’t you like to be able to stop them? Every other state already has these laws and no one is using them to shut down activities in the way you describe.

  5. Hi anonymous. Thanks for your comment but you have not said why it is incorrect. The definition of pollution has changed to include even making a noise. The laws allow any person to seek an interim order against the mere ‘risk’ of the activity occurring. This is straight out of the legislation so if you read it differently, please say so.

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