Who is Aurizon?
Aurizon Operations is Australia's largest rail freight company, operating networks across Queensland and NSW and attributing 80% of their revenue to coal.
Adani, in a desperate bid to get its controversial Carmichael coal mine off the ground, have applied for access to Aurizon's Newlands rail corridor and expect to rely on Aurizon's trains to haul their coal. Environmentalists object to this potential partnership, deeply concerned about Aurizon's role in the Carmichael project and further development of the Galilee Basin.
Between October 2018 and January 2019, four activists blocked coal freight from entering Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and the fifth halted a train headed to the Port of Brisbane. The protesters demanded that Aurizon rule out a partnership with Adani and refuse haulage contracts with any new coal mines, in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Aurizon is now filing a major Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPP) suit against a group of volunteers. The suit is designed to financially cripple activists and draw large swathes of time and resources from the environmental movement, ultimately silencing community concern about Adani's mine and its role driving dangerous climate change.
Last Thursday, Aurizon added five individuals to a civil claim filed against Frontline Action on Coal Incorporated (FLAC Inc) last November.
Aurizon seeks an injunction, which would make trespass on Aurizon land punishable by imprisonment. Furthermore, the claim includes damages totalling $750,000: $375,000 from FLAC Inc and $75,000 from each individual, and for the defendants to pay Aurizon’s court costs.
The Aurizon 5
The Aurizon Five are:
- Clancey Maher, 24, Nursing & Public Health student
- Hannah Doole, 19, volunteer
- Greg Rolles, 37, Geography Teacher
- Jesse Secomb, 37, high school teacher
- Sadie Jones, 21, Zoology Student
For us, a successful damages claim would be financially crippling.
The five, along with countless others are working passionately to raise awareness about the devastating impacts of the Adani mine. We know that it is more than the health of our planet at stake, but our freedom to object to this destructive behaviour.
Last Thursday, the five were added to last year's claim, and we face a long road ahead of court hearings and legal battles. We will not let Aurizon use their wallet to silence us, but we do need your help.
This case will not be a short one and in order to have every chance of fighting this injustice, we need help to cover legal fees.
Anything you can offer would help immensely and if you can't donate anything, please give this a share and help us spread awareness of how dissent is treated in this country.