TRAGEDY: Mourners gather to celebrate the life of Forestry Corporation of NSW worker John Crighton.
TRAGEDY: Mourners gather to celebrate the life of Forestry Corporation of NSW worker John Crighton. Rodney Stevens

Coffs MP lashes "green ratbags" over Whian Whian death

MEMBER for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has lashed out at "green ratbag" protesters over the death of logging worker John Creighton at Whian Whian last month.

Mr Fraser said in State Parliament last week the accident, which happened on a private property, would not have happened had the protesters not blockaded the site and more logging personnel had to be sent in.

"Mr Creighton was there trying to keep people away from the area when a limb fell from a tree, hit him on the head and killed him," Mr Fraser said about the October 9 accident.

"Mr Creighton should not have been there. He did not need to be there. However, because of work health and safety concerns held by State Forests about the green protesters who were there... it was deemed necessary for Mr Creighton to be there.

"A family has lost their father because the greens failed to comply with work health and safety regulations.

"In fact, they blocked radio signals and roads. Indeed, although they claimed that they assisted the police in getting an ambulance in there, it was delayed. I do not believe them."

Mr Fraser said the government "must ensure that we have a forest system that protects workers in a forest".

Protestors at the Whian Whian logging blokade. Photo : Rodney Stevens/The Northern Star
Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser blames a protest blockade for death of logging worker John Crighton at Whian Whian last month. Rodney Stevens

"We need to provide rural communities with protection from the disgraceful behaviour of the green ratbags at a level equivalent to the protection available for Sydney-based industries," he said.

"These fools create situations where people are not only injured but killed."

It was time, Mr Fraser said, the government moved to ensure that protesters who entered private land and state forests were removed by the police. "I do not want to see another headline about a forest worker, whether employed by the state or by private industry, being killed while trying to protect an operation that was signed off after going through all the environmental regulation."

Member for Lismore, Thomas George, expressed his sympathy to Mr Creighton's family at the same sitting.

"The industry has lost not only a great employee but also an experienced employee, and a wonderful family and community man with the death of John Creighton," Mr George said.