MEDIA RELEASE: Friday 6th May 2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SHOCK NEWS: Community Prevented From Legally Protesting Against Tree Destruction on Anzac Parade: Sydney Light Rail.
IMAGE: Coogee residents Greg Vankyuk and Sharon Bowen | Sydney Morning Herald
Community action groups such as the Sydney Light Rail Action Group and other groups trying to Save Sydney Trees have allegedly been prevented by the government from legally protesting against the tree destruction to be caused by the installation of the Sydney Light Rail.
In order to hold a legal protest, a representative from a protest group needs to fill in a “Form 1 – Notice of Intention to Hold a Public Assembly” This form needs to be filled in at least one week in advance of any protest action. The purpose of this is to ensure that there are enough police on hand to look after the safety of protesters. It is also necessary that that protest areas can be clearly marked out by the police and Construction Company, and to ensure the safety of workers, and OHS for police and protestors.
The Government, Transport for NSW and ALTRAC, the consortium contracted to build the light rail, have so far allegedly refused to provide the community with specific dates and times of when the specific trees are to be chopped down or pruned. They have allegedly also refused to enter into a continuing dialogue with the protest groups as the work schedule is updated on a daily basis. The government, TfNSW, ALTRAC and local councils are providing statements like such as “Exact timing of tree works is unpredictable, and flexibility needs to be incorporated to allow for contingencies.” Randwick City Council representative: 21/3/16.
“I think the Government are just scared that if the community found out just how large-scale the tree destruction is, it is likely there would be such a huge sense of outrage and backlash, the project would naturally implode and all work would stop immediately.” said Mr. John Bellamy of The Sydney Light Rail Action Group. “The government, Transport For NSW, and ALTRAC’s alleged refusal to provide information forces the community into a position where they must illegally protest, and not enough police resources are on hand to ensure safety of all concerned.”
On Monday night, 3 male policemen allegedly forcibly handcuffed a young mother of two and took her into custody for trying to save an Anzac War Memorial Boulevard Moreton Bay Fig tree. The tree was planted over 100 years ago under the instruction of Charles Moore, mayor of Sydney and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens.
“We implore the Government, Transport For NSW and ALTRAC to provide the tree removal and pruning information to the community at least 7 days in advance and on an ongoing basis, day-by-day and tree-by-tree as it is updated. This is so that large scale rolling protests against the tree removal may be conducted in a law-abiding way, and there are enough police resources on hand to ensure the safety of all concerned. The sheer number or trees to be removed and pruned is the information they should have provided to the community before the project was approved at the end of 2014. It is the information they must provide today in order to give the community a full picture of the extent of the massive destruction that it still yet to be unleashed on our natural (and built) environment. What have they got to be afraid of?” Concluded Mr. Bellamy.
Mr. Bellamy will be available for further comment by phoning 0414 755 621 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
IMAGES BELOW: Sydney Morning Herald: James Mathison detained by Police
IMAGE BELOW: ©Lauren Trompp