News

Bentley battle plan revealed

Monday morning at the Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
Monday morning at the Bentley Blockade. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

GOVERNMENT documents have revealed up to 800 police officers were to be sent to Bentley from May 19 to "ensure public safety" and enable Metgasco to move its drill rig on to the site.

And Metgasco wouldn't have been charged for the police operation, scheduled to continue until June 7.

The documents also acknowledge the strong groundswell support for the protesters, including support from the mayors of Lismore, Kyogle and Tweed.

Senior government officials warned the safety risk to the public and police during the installation of the drill rig would be "high to extreme".

The situation was described as an "unprecedented public order challenge" requiring a "significant deployment of police officers".

The information was released under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.

These documents were provided exclusively to The Northern Star last night.

A briefing to the Premier in early May by the chief executive of the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services expressed concern about protesters' "sophisticated strategies not previously observed by police".

"These include a concrete bunker where protesters lock-on to an anchor device, buried and wire obstacles, an aerial drone equipped with CCTV and an SMS warning system," the brief states.

A NSW Police Force briefing also identified "many risks", including a "catastrophic" risk of litigation.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said the documents showed the NSW Police force was to be "used as an exceptionally powerful and expensive private security operation for a resources company".

"Any accountable democratic government would take that as a sign the industry should not go ahead," he said.

"We now also know that long-suffering NSW taxpayers were going to be footing the bill to keep this industry alive, with no plans for Metgasco to be charged."

 

Looking Back

METGASCO's licence to drill at Bentley was cancelled by NSW Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts on May 15 - just four days before the police operation was due to start.

And according to an update from the NSW Police to the Premier, dated May 13, Operation Stapler was still on track just two days before the shock announcement.

Operation commander, Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy, had "extensively consulted" with internal and external stakeholders. In the days before Metgasco's licence was cancelled, several important meetings were scheduled.

Planning managers were to meet on May 13, with Assistant Commissioner Loy to meet with the Premier the following day. The operation's incident management team were to travel to the Northern Rivers on May 16 with activity to have taken place on May 17.

Topics:  bentley blockade, editors picks, metgasco



Our young Attenborough scoops documentary awards

Knockrow wildlife documentary maker Marli Lopez-Hope during filming for The Great Forest

"The subject has created a lot of talk, which is what we wanted."

Why this Lismore mum will no longer be forced to sell her home

MUCH NEEDED: Rotary Club of Summerland Sunrise donated almost $4500 to the Mitchell family for renovations to support mobility for their son Isaac, who has cerebral palsy. Pictured is Rose Mitchell and Isaac (foreground), with (from left) Past President Andrew Heap, Josephine Saunders, President Zell Bennett, and Graham Meineke (background).

A local club has made a huge difference for this family

Surfrider Foundation to give voice to Ballina surfers

BURIED: This steel anchor, a component of the planned Lighthouse Beach shark barrier, is now completely buried along with several others after two days of big swell and high tides.

A "positive outcome” from the shark barrier debacle.

Local Partners

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

Buyers forking out millions

Owners benefiting from undersupplied Northern Rivers market

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

New $33 million development planned for Ballina Shire

The site of a proposed seniors living development at Skennars Head.

Plans include 211 homes, clubhouse and recreational facilities

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction