Queensland Police have brought criminal charges against an activist from the unlawful protest camp on Bravus Mining and Resources’ Mining Lease near Clermont in central Queensland after the man was captured on camera allegedly interfering with stock gates and cattle grazing in the area.
The 21-year-old man, who cannot be named, appeared in Clermont Magistrates Court on Wednesday 7 June on wilful damage charges related to him allegedly forcing open, and then pinning back, a cattle gate designed to prevent livestock from wandering onto a public road.
The man then allegedly attempted to hide his actions by using cow excrement to obscure a security camera, damaging it in the process.
The charges come as fellow activists state on social media that the operation of pastoral leases and cattle grazing is a ‘limitation of their rights’ and they are in the “biggest fight” with local pastoralists.
In one video posted to social media from the unlawful protest camp last week, activist Coedie McAvoy** complained: “Why does (sic) cattle get rights over us?”
“This system is like, oh, well, they could say, ‘Oh well you chose to live here’. And I said, well, I didn’t choose to live here. They chose to have their cattle in here,” Mr McAvoy said in the video.
“… cattle is (sic) a limitation of my rights because it’s an economic benefit.”
Bravus Mining and Resources installed the security cameras after local graziers told the company the activists’ behaviour had made them fear for the welfare of their people, including young jillaroos, following heated interactions between some pastoral workers and activists about cattle on the land.
“We’re extremely concerned that the activists who are camped on our Mining Lease without our permission have stepped up their dangerous and anti-social behaviour interfering with gates and cattle grazing in the area,”a Bravus Mining and Resources spokesperson said.
“For months we’ve raised the alarm about the activists’ increasingly erratic and threatening behaviour towards our workers, Traditional Owners, and public figures, and now they appear to want to abolish grazing in central Queensland because farmers and cattle are a ‘limitation of their human rights’.
“Local graziers told us they believed the activists had been interfering with cattle and gates and had allegedly had an angry verbal exchange with a jackeroo, so we installed security cameras to help keep our people, neighbours, and their cattle and property safe.
“One of these cameras filmed an activist as he sabotaged stock gates, behaviour which has disrupted cattle breeding and let cattle loose into the public road reserve where the valuable animals risk being struck by passing traffic and injured or killed.
“We’ve written to our neighbours to let them know what has happened and to suggest they stay alert in case the activists continue to interfere with cattle and gates in the local area.
“It’s time the Queensland Government stepped in and removed the unauthorised protest camp from our mining lease to protect the rights of law-abiding miners and pastoralists to go to work and do their job without fear of activist intimidation, harassment, or sabotage.”
Note: **Mr McAvoy is also facing criminal charges for the alleged assault of an Indigenous environmental ranger and a security guard as the pair went about their lawful work on Mining Lease in February.
The two counts of common assault brought against Mr McAvoy by Queensland Police over that incident are still before the courts.