Police block questions on cost of plan for blockade
POLICE have declined to answer questions about Operation Stapler after government documents obtained under freedom of information revealed up to 800 police were to descend on Bentley to break up the anti-gas blockade.
The Northern Star sent nine questions to Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy, but only received this two-line response.
"A police operation was planned to take place at Bentley to facilitate a lawful protest and ensure the conduct of lawful business," the statement said.
"When the licence was suspended, the operation was cancelled."
Questions police declined to answer included:
Mr Loy was due to meet with Premier Mike Baird about Bentley on May 14, the day before Metgasco's drilling permit was suspended.
Did this meeting take place, and what was discussed?
Why wasn't Metgasco going to be charged for the police operation when music festivals including Bluesfest and Splendour in the Grass have to pay for police presence at the festivals?
Do estimates of between $10 million and $14 million accurately reflect the cost of bringing 800 police to Bentley to break up the protest? If not, how much was the police operation anticipated to cost?
Will a similar operation be considered if the decision to suspend Metgasco's exploration licence is overturned?
In the documents received under GIPA - DOC011993 further advice on the Operation Stapler at the Metgasco site at Bentley 13 May 2014 was withheld, citing - 1f and 2 b,d,e as considerations against disclosure. What were these considerations and why was this document not released?
What were the primary concerns of police if the Operation Stapler went ahead?
When did police become aware of the decision to suspend Metgasco's licence?
Will police be compensating businesses who they had engaged to supply accommodation food etc for the operation?
If so how much will this cost?
How much of a factor was the support of three local Mayors in encouraging the blockade at Bentley in cancelling the police operation?