THE Victorian Government has tabled a Bill stipulating new police powers to end unlawful union pickets and protestor blockades that inhibit business activity.

In a statement released this week, the state government announced it would remove some union-friendly restrictions on police move-on powers with the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013.

“Every Victorian has the right to protest and express their views,” industrial relations minister Robert Clark said.

“However, when individuals resort to unlawful tactics that threaten the livelihood of law-abiding businesses, employees and their families, they must be held to account.”

The Bill will allow orders to be issued where a person:

  • Is impeding lawful access to premises;
  • Has committed and offence in the public place;
  • Is causing other to have a reasonable fear of violence; or
  • Is endangering safety or engaging in behaviour likely to cause damage to property.

Failing to comply with an order will carry a penalty of around $720, and police will also be permitted to arrest individuals who contravene move-on orders.

Additionally, police will be authorised to apply for an exclusion order, lasting up to 12 months, through the Magistrates’ Court where an individual has received multiple move-on orders in the same area.

A breach of an exclusion order may result in up to two years jail time.

“Police should be able to focus on protecting the community, not having to deal repeatedly with the same individuals at the same unlawful blockades,” Mr Clark said.

“Exclusion orders will empower the courts to make longer lasting orders to tackle serial law-breakers intent on causing trouble for hard working Victorians and their businesses.”