Legislation creates new offence of Preventing Lawful Activity
Will target offences using lock-on devices like thumb locks and arm locks
Aims to deter and prevent dangerous activity
The Liberal National Government has introduced legislation which aims to prevent the increasingly dangerous behaviour of some protesters.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said the Criminal Code did not adequately deter and prevent the growing incidence of protesters locking themselves to objects with devices so secure they required a skilled technician to remove them.
Mrs Harvey said protests were growing increasingly dangerous and volatile, with an increased chance of injury to police and the protesters themselves.
"Protestors are using devices such as thumb locks and arm locks that are made in such a way that not even the protester can unlock them," she said.
"Removal is dangerous and in most instances requires a costly technician to be called in and is likely to cause some degree of injury to the protester.
"The legislation creates a new offence of physical prevention of a lawful activity, providing police with the ability to charge a person who creates a physical barrier with the intent to prevent a lawful activity from being conducted.
"This offence will relieve the frustration and delay for workers and management at development sites and ensure people who partake in dangerous conduct will face consequences for their actions."
The law also prohibits the manufacture, adaption and possession of things that aid in the prevention of lawful activity, allowing police to seize items from offenders before they are used in an offence.
The Minister said in circumstances where a protester endangered the safety of any person while protesting, including themselves, they would risk a greater penalty.
"While people have a democratic right to protest, we need to protect the rights of companies and employees who are lawfully conducting their business," she said.
"This Government is dedicated to making communities safer and protecting the rights of law abiding citizens by providing police with the resources they need to carry out their duties."
The penalty is up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a $12,000 fine
In circumstances of aggravation, the penalty is 24 months imprisonment and a fine of $24,000
Minister's office - 6552 5900