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Aurizon backs new Qld anti-protest laws

More than 30 dangerous devices had to be forcibly removed from protesters who used them to attach themselves to structures and increase the risk of injury during climate protests in Brisbane

A Queensland parliamentary enquiry was told police needed cutting tools including angle grinders to remove the Dangerous Attachment Devices such as steel pipes lined with glass sleeves that are designed to be difficult or dangerous to remove.

Senior police told the hearing 30 devices had been used in Queensland between 2017 and 2019, but another 32 were recovered this week alone as the government looks at new laws to punish users of the devices with up to two years' jail.

A committee assessing the proposed new laws was told the devices are designed to prevent emergency services workers from removing them and to expose the protesters and emergency workers to the risk of injury.

"Sometimes the arms swell and they can't get out. We offer them more than one opportunity to self-release, but people rarely self-release," a police spokesman said.

Senior police said protesters had attached themselves to conveyor belts, hydraulic rams, roads and bridges, placing themselves at significant risk.

Australia's largest freight train network Aurizon told the inquiry they backed the proposed laws for safety reasons.

Aurizon executive Michael Riches says protesters have wrongly claimed their actions on train lines were safe because phone calls were made to make train operators stop trains.

But Mr Riches says some of the protesters have given the wrong locations.

"It takes up to two and a half kilometres to stop a train. They can't stop or swerve," he told the hearing on Friday.

The hearing into the controversial proposed began in parliament on Friday to fast-track the laws following months of disruptive protests across Brisbane.

But the proposed laws would not apply to some of the innovative protests this week, says Karen Dyhrberg of Lawyers for Climate Action for Australia.

"I think the laws are so hastily drafted that they duplicate existing laws and fail to capture other behaviours," she said.

© AAP 2019