The NSW Government will introduce legislation into NSW Parliament that will increase enforcement powers with respect to illegal protests, and ensure public safety, the protection of communities, workers and lawful business activity.

The Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 provides protection of communities and businesses.

The key reforms include:

  • Creating the offence of ‘aggravated unlawful entry on inclosed lands’, with a maximum penalty of $5,500 under the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, including amendments relating to illegal protests which occur on mine sites;
  • Extending the meaning of ‘mine’ to include petroleum workplaces, in connection with the existing indictable offence of intentionally or recklessly interfering with a mine under the Crimes Act 1900;
  • Additional search and seizure powers for Police to deal with people who intend to ‘lock-on’ to equipment or structures for the purpose of interfering with a business or undertaking, and that is likely to be used in a way that poses a serious risk to the safety of any person, under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002; and
  • Removing limitations to allow Police to give directions in public places to prevent obstructions of persons or traffic for a demonstration, protest, procession or organised assembly under the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002.

The NSW remains committed to ensure the rights to peaceful protest are balanced with the need to ensure public safety while protecting workers and lawful businesses.

Frequently asked questions

What Bill will be introduced about illegal protests?

Legislation will be introduced into NSW Parliament that will increase enforcement powers with respect to illegal protests. The aim of the legislation is to ensure public safety, the protection of communities, lawful business activity and the safety of the staff working there.

The Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Amendment (Interference) Bill 2016 provides protection of communities and businesses by delivering the Premier’s commitment to deter unlawful disruption.

The government continues to support the right to legal protests conducted in accordance with the Summary Offences Act 1988.

Is my right to peaceful protest going to be affected?

The Government remains committed to ensuring that people are able to exercise their right to communicate their opinions and ideas on matters of concern through peaceful protest.

This right, however, as with any right in a democratic society, must be balanced with the rights and interests of others, and the community as a whole.

Why are higher penalties and stronger enforcement powers needed?

The government does not support particular protest actions that threaten the safety of others or cause disruption to legal business activities. The new laws deliver on the NSW Government’s commitment to ensure that rights to peaceful protest are balanced with the need to ensure public safety and protect workers and lawful businesses.

What are the maximum penalties?

The maximum penalty for the aggravated offence will be $5,500. It will apply in relation to land on which a business or undertaking is being conducted and where the offenders, while on the lands, interfere with, or attempt or intend to interfere with, the conduct of the business or undertaking or do anything that gives rise to a serious risk to the safety of the person or any other person on those lands.

The Bill amends the Crimes Act 1900 to extend the meaning of ‘mine’ in connection with the existing indictable offence of intentionally or recklessly interfering with a mine. This carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment of seven years.