A LARGE contingent of police officers from outside the Oxley LAC and the NSW Police Air Wing have arrived in the North West, as protest action against the Maules Creek coal mine, near Boggabri, ramps up.
The police helicopter, Polair, along with officers attached to the State Protection Group from Sydney and police sniffer dogs arrived in Gunnedah this morning, en route to the mine area.
The chopper, with three officers from Bankstown onboard, stopped to refuel at Gunnedah Airport at around 10am, before flying to a command base at Boggabri.
Two police dog vans, with one tracking dog and one drug dog, were at Gunnedah Police Station on Tuesday morning.
They will be in the region for a week.
The operation is being headed up by Barwon Local Area Command, following ongoing action by protestors rallying against the controversial Maules Creek mine.
It coincides with ActUp4 – a 10-day campaign organised by protestors aimed at protecting the Leard State Forest and stop Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine going ahead.
It will involve workshops, action and community engagement.
The protestors have been camped out at the property “Wando”, near Maules Creek, since they were removed from the forest several weeks ago.
Property owner Cliff Wallace, said the Polair helicopter had flown low over the camp six times this morning.
Every entrance to the Leard State Forest has been blocked by police, drawing criticism from local residents who claim they have been blocked access near their properties.
So far, 88 protestors have been arrested near the mine site, claiming that precious flora and fauna is being threatened.
The action has halted construction work on the site, as well as interrupted some operations at the two operating mines at Boggabri.
Meanwhile, protestors staged action at Gunnedah on Tuesday morning, with one locking himself to the front gates of the Whitehaven Coal Handling and Processing Plant. Read more here: Protestor cut free