Anti-Adani protestor Benny Zane at the Airlie Beach foreshore markets.
Anti-Adani protestor Benny Zane at the Airlie Beach foreshore markets. Peter Carruthers

Violence at Adani protests a "matter of time"

A  NORTH Queensland leader has warned Adani activists it is only a matter of time before contractors and locals confront protesters in Bowen.

As anti-coal activists prepare to travel north to begin protest action against Adani from this weekend, Whitsunday councillor Mike Brunker told Townsville Bulletin he expected locals and contractors would not stand for interruptions.

"It's quite possible that a few of them (protesters) are going to get a clipping," he said. "If you've got ­people from all over Australia working (in Bowen) then I seriously think someone may get a clipping."

Burdekin MP Dale Last and Queensland Resources Council chief executive officer Ian Macfarlane have called for North Queenslanders to stand up against the protesters.

Anti-coal protests centred around Adani's Abbot Point coal terminal are expected to ramp up after Greens Senator Andrew Bartlett put miner GVK Hancock on notice last week.

The Bulletin understands the ­protesters will not be staying at Glen Erin Farm Stay near Bowen again.

"I think we need to start getting a bit more fair dinkum," Cr Brunker said yesterday.

Bowen Chamber of Commerce chairman Bruce Hedditch said he was "bitterly disappointed" the coal protesting was still happening and said locals would not tolerate the "invasion".

"We need jobs in this area," he said.

"To have this sort of rubbish that's being put in front of people is just so false. This hide-and-seek situation that these protesters have doesn't allow local people to tell them exactly what they think.

"I'm sure they would give them a piece of their mind."

Mr Hedditch, who owns the ­Larrikin Hotel in Bowen, stopped short of urging businesses to turn ­protesters away, saying that was not a responsible way to stop them.

Mr Last said the ­entire mining and mineral resources sector needed to band together.

"We need to be careful that this doesn't escalate to violence but ­certainly we need to be more proactive in terms of the messages that we're putting out there," he said.

"These groups are very well ­organised and well funded."

Mr Macfarlane echoed comments made by Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart last year, who said activists should foot the bill when police were called to protests.

"It should never become a conflict; they (residents) should speak up in the community and the media," he said.

Mr Macfarlane said he was confident Adani's Carmichael project would proceed but the company needed to "get on with it".

"Progress stalled a bit in the political heat of the election," he said.

"Understandably there has been some doubt in the community and there was some misinterpretation about what the Government was ­saying about the mine.

"I don't think the Greens and protesters are gaining ground on Adani."

Protest organiser Frontline Action on Coal did not return calls yesterday.


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