New South Wales Transport Minister David Elliott said protests in Sydney’s CBD this week will come at a high price for taxpayers.
Transport Minister David Elliott has estimated the cost of the climate blockade protests to the state government is “in the millions” as organizers call off their last day of planned disruptions.
The group caused major disruption during their protests in Sydney’s CBD on Monday and Tuesday.
Their plans to protest on Wednesday were interrupted by police who targeted their picnic.
Polair helicopters and riot squads were used throughout the week to prevent the city from becoming paralyzed.
Asked by reporters how much the protest action would cost the government, Mr Elliott said he would be ‘horrified to think of the cost of it’.
“If the train strike cost the New South Wales economy thirty million dollars, you can assume a blockade costs millions,” Mr Elliott said.
He went on to say that the cost goes far beyond monetary value to taxpayers.
“It’s the non-monetary cost as well as the stress of drivers, the anxiety of families not meeting their commitments, and the difficulty employers are currently having in getting workers into the workplace.”
NSW Police have made a total of 23 arrests following the unauthorized protests, bringing the number of arrests to 35 since Strike Force Guard operations began in March.
On Thursday, the group announced that it was canceling the protest.
“We have made the difficult choice to end the mobilization and wait for the next time when we are bigger and stronger,” they said Thursday on the Telegram messaging platform via the Blockade Australia channel: Resist Climate Inaction .
“We call on people to continue to take disruptive climate action in any way possible.”
The transport minister said he believed the harsh sanctions imposed by the state government in April had contributed to the group’s early abandonment of the protests.
“They probably understood that the sanctions that this government has put in place could make it quite an expensive exercise,” Mr Elliott told reporters at a press conference on Friday.
Protesters could be fined up to $22,000 and/or up to two years in prison for unlawfully demonstrating on public roads, train tracks, tunnels, bridges and industrial areas.
“I hope that means those who want to disrupt the city have grown up a bit,” Mr Elliott said.