Two #leardblockade locals tell Narrabri Court why they got arrested for the first time - statement by @lockthegate

29 April

Over one hundred protestors mentioned in Narrabri local court today

Over one hundred coal and coal-seam gas protestors will be mentioned in Narrabri local court this morning, where some supporters plan to gather outside. Nine protestors arrested in the Pilliga forest for protesting Santos’ coal seam gas explorations and over ninety protestors of Whitehaven's Maules Creek open-cut coal mine have their cases mentioned in court today.

Patricia Schultz, a grandmother from Armidale arrested earlier this month for locking herself to a drill rig truck in the Pilliga, will maintain a vigil as a 'knitting nanna' outside the courthouse today as well as being one of the protestors on the court list.

"At 63, I had an unblemished record until facing the charges currently before the court, which gives some indication of how important the Pilliga is to me," said Ms Schultz.

"I grew up in the North-West, and do not want to see our landscape industrialised, our water-table polluted and our precious forests damaged. Both Pilliga and Leard state forests are nationally significant and should be protected for future generations," continued Ms Schultz.

52 year-old Coonamble farmer Mark Robinson locked himself to the gate of the drill rig in March and is also facing court today. Mr Robinson said, "No one that has seen the revelations of systemic corruption in NSW politics that are now being exposed in the ICAC inquiry would be surprised that people across this state are risking arrest to stop coal and coal seam gas projects - who else is going to protect our water?

"No one wants to be arrested, but the politicians are letting these companies ride rough-shod over our water, our forests and our communities, so we are standing together to defend this region," continued Mark.

"We really hope that the Government sees the value of stepping in and protecting the the Pilliga and Leard State Forest, and ending this conflict. The large numbers of protestors listed today will be only the beginning if reckless threats to water, farmland and forests from coal and coal seam gas mining continue," Pat Schultz concluded.

For more information or comment:

Pat Schultz 0428 725 852

Mark Robinson 0427 253 399

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