Police arrest Bob Irwin during a protest against a coal seam gas company at Tara today.
Police arrest Bob Irwin during a protest against a coal seam gas company at Tara today.

Bob Irwin arrested at protest

UPDATE: Veteran wildlife campaigner and father of Steve, Bob Irwin, has been arrested while taking part in a blockade of gas mining company QGC at Tara today.

Queensland Green spokeswoman Libby Connors and former Sea Shepherd campaigner Thomas Brookes have also been arrested.

Mr Irwin believes his late famous son would have been proud of his arrest at a coal seam gas (CSG) protest in Queensland.

He has been charged with ignoring police orders to remove himself from a road blockade aimed at stopping the construction of a 16km gas pipeline in the state's south.

The father of the late "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin, along with Greens spokeswoman Libby Connors, joined the protest at the Tara Estate, south of Chinchilla, on Tuesday but within hours were in police custody.

Protesters have been manning the blockade since last month trying to frustrate construction of the pipeline, which will take CSG from five wells on the estate to the nearby Kenya gas processing plant.

Opponents fear the expanding CSG industry will contaminate groundwater, present risks to human health and devalue land.

Mr Irwin accused the Queensland Gas Company (QGC) of breaching permits to clear vegetation along the pipeline route, and the state government of doing nothing about it.

"They are allowed to clear 10 metres of remnant vegetation to be able to put the pipeline in but in many, many areas - and I'm talking about kilometres - they have cleared 40 metres," he told AAP after being released from the Chinchilla police station.

"If any ordinary Australian had done that, against the tree clearing laws, we'd be in jail."

He said the government must explain why it was doing nothing about the alleged breaches, and must also address deep concern about the use of toxic chemicals used in the industry.

"Are we going to have our Great Artesian Basin contaminated? They can't give you an answer on that and that's just not right," he said.

Mr Irwin said he'd been ordered to face the Chinchilla Magistrates Court in May, charged "with making a blood nuisance of myself - there's probably a technical term for that".

"I of course will plead guilty to that and then I'll just have to cop what comes from that," he said.

"Steve's probably laughing right now that his old man is in a little bit of bother, he was pretty mischievous fellow. But I think he'd be proud of what's being done here.

"He'd know as well as I do that we must fight for our land."

A QGC spokesman said the company was "entirely confident" the company had not breached its environmental conditions.

He said nearly half of the proposed work would be done on land it owns and the 14 landholders directly affected had agreed to compensation packages for disturbance to their land.

"If landholders have problems with the amount of land we're clearing, the measurements thereof, we've always said to them that we are more than happy to talk to them about that and to deal with it," he told AAP.

Late last month, QGC had to suspend work on a unrelated pipeline near Dalby, west of Brisbane, after a six-kilometre-long, 40-metre-wide route of land was cleared without appropriate approvals.

Queensland Party leader Aidan McLindon, who joined the protesters' blockade on Tuesday, told AAP Ms Connors had also been arrested. It's not clear if she's yet been charged.

Mr McLindon said the high profile arrests would help people realise CSG projects were being rubber-stamped in Queensland.

In late March, Friends of the Earth campaigner Drew Hutton, who is Ms Connor's husband, was arrested and charged after participating in the long-running protest.

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