RAIL transit into the Port of Newcastle today encountered attempted blockades from climate protesters.

This morning (25 June) a man climbed atop the Kooragang rail bridge in Newcastle, suspending himself over the Hunter River in an attempt to block rail traffic in and out of the Port.

Several hours later, police were called when two women climbed onto a coal carriage in the suburb of Sandgate in Newcastle’s north.

Though occurring at separate times with different individuals involved, the incidents were a coordinated effort from Blockade Australia, an activist group that conducts protests, often publicly, in order to spread messages.

The group said in a press release following the incidents “Blockade Australia is committed to mobilisations that confront the pressure points in Australia’s extractive system”.

It is unknown exactly what, if any, impact the protests had on operations to the freight rail network, or to cargo transiting in or out of the Port of Newcastle.

Newcastle is one of the largest coal ports in the world, accounting for a substantial portion of Australia’s coal export industry.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation commented to DCN on the protests, “The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is very concerned by the illegal activities of protestors on its rail network in Newcastle that is placing lives at risk”.

“Whilst recognising people’s right to protest; protesters trespassing in a live rail corridor is incredibly dangerous, can be fatal and puts themselves, our rail workers and train drivers at risk of serious harm.”

“ARTC, working in conjunction with industry, including the Port of Newcastle has increased security patrols and surveillance to prevent future trespassing incidents.”

BA’s protests are often aimed at Australia’s logistics, freight, metro, and port areas in an effort to halt operations in exchange for publicity.

Newcastle is only the latest target of the protests, as June 2023 saw the ports of Brisbane and Melbourne encounter disruptions from protesters attempting to block access of roads leading into the respective ports.

UPDATE: Another protest occurred this morning (26/06) in Newcastle, when a person climbed another coal train in an attempt to halt operations.