Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown and mining spokesperson Larissa Waters will attend a rally in Dalby today to support Drew Hutton, President of the Lock the Gate Alliance, in his appearance before the Magistrates Court.
"I have known Drew for 30 years. He is a co-founder of the Australian Greens. His courage and integrity are formidable characteristics when lined up against this money-hungry, invasive coal seam gas industry," Senator Brown said.
"Acting in the interests of the long-term future of our land, our environment, our water resources and our farming communities should be the very definition of a ‘reasonable excuse'," Senator Waters said.
"Today's hearing is a test case on the rights of people to protect our common assets from destruction by fossil fuel giants.
"My proposed Landholders' Right to Refuse (Coal Seam Gas) Bill currently before the Senate would give farmers the right to lock the gate against the coal seam gas industry, and prevent these battles from being fought in the courts," Senator Waters said.
Mr Hutton is charged with obstructing a coal seam gas company without reasonable excuse, under section 805 of the Queensland Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act, which carries a maximum $50,000 penalty.
The recent Senate inquiry interim report into coal seam gas has called for farmers' rights to be better respected by the CSG industry, and also recommended a moratorium on CSG until specific scientific studies are concluded.