AGL employee removes protest signs

AN employee of AGL removed coal seam gas protest signs from private property near Broke.

Hunter Valley Protection Alliance chairman Stewart Ewen said about four signs and a large banner were removed from a property opposite the site of a coal seam gas protest last month.

Mr Ewen said the signs were removed the day after the protest, which was held outside Poole’s Rock Estate.

The estate was owned by late financier David Clarke, a strong critic of the coal seam gas industry, but was acquired recently by AGL.

Alliance president Graeme Gibson said a resident saw the signs being removed and loaded into a car.

‘‘I wrote to [AGL group general manager upstream gas] Mike Moraza and he emailed us to say he had investigated the matter and would arrange for the return of the signs,’’ Mr Gibson said.

Mr Ewen said the signs had been returned and were back in place, but he believed the action had been provocative.

An AGL spokesman refused to divulge the role of the employee who was involved.

“An AGL employee removed protest signs from near our newly acquired Poole’s Rock property without any authorisation to do so,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘... Mike Moraza investigated the matter and contacted Stewart Ewen to apologise for the incident and to arrange for the signs to be returned.

‘‘AGL does not condone the actions of this employee who has since been counselled.

‘‘We apologise for this unfortunate incident.

‘‘We respect residents’ rights to voice their opinions about AGL.”

Mr Ewen said the signs were some of many that lined roads near Broke.

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