Enough is enough: Adani launches civil action against persistent critic

Coal miner Adani has launched legal proceedings against a persistent protester for harassing and intimidating workers involved with its major mine project in central Queensland.

Aug 27, 2020, updated Aug 27, 2020
Adani has launched legal proceedings against Ben Pennings. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Adani has launched legal proceedings against Ben Pennings. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

The Indian-owned firm claims Galilee Blockade activist Ben Pennings has led a decade-long campaign against Adani’s business, employees, contractors and potential business partners over its 10 million-tonne-a-year Galilee Basin project.

The company filed a civil damages case against him in Queensland’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, seeking to limit his ability to prevent Adani from “legally and legitimately pursuing our commercial interests”.

“After almost a decade of this type of intimidation we are saying enough is enough and we are exercising our legal rights to put an end to this obsessive and, in some cases, dangerous behaviour,” the company said in a statement.

“This is not about inflicting hardship on Mr Pennings, rather we are protecting our rights to carry out our business and give regional Queenslanders a fair go in terms of jobs and contracting opportunities.”

Adani claims the activist caused distress to workers by entering the company’s offices and used intimidation to try to force meetings with executives.

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The firm also alleges he used photos of its workers and contractors on social media to try to “belittle or intimidate them”.

Pennings called it an “attack dog” legal strategy on Twitter, adding he was confident he would get excellent pro bono advice.

The company is building its $2 billion thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin, which could be expanded to six times that size.

Adani is also building a rail line with an initial 40 million tonne-a-year capacity that would be open to other companies if it gets the tick of approval to mine the coal-rich region.

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