• Protestors outside Whitehaven coal min project at Leard State Forest, Mauls Creek, northern NSW. (Front Line Action on Coal)Source: Front Line Action on Coal
Three Aboriginal men have been released from custody after locking themselves to concrete barrels in protest against the controversial Maules Creek project on Wednesday.
2 Mar 2016 - 3:24 PM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2016 - 3:37 PM

Paul Spearim, Allen Talbot and Laurence Miles locked themselves to concrete barrels at the entrance to Whitehaven's Maules Creek project, which they say sits on Lawler's Well, a sacred site in Leard State Forest.

"The protest was a success because we get to tell our stories from our Gamilaraay voice, rather than other people talking for us," Paul Spearim told NITV News.

Mr Spearim says he will always protect his land.

"As Gamilaraay people we have a duty of care to our totem,  our land, our water and the environment that’s here.

"What they’re doing here digging up and clearing our land is wrong. For us as Gamilaraay people I ask you to come out here, I implore you to come out here, and defend your country."

The Maules Creek Mine project has been the subject of controversy for taking place in Leard State Forest.

Traditional owner Dolly Talbot has criticised Environment Minister Greg Hunt for breaching Section 9 and 10 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage and Protection Act, that mandates sacred sites must be protected.

"The bulldozers are in full throttle," she told NITV News.

But she says Gamileraay/Gomeroi people will not back down.

"Put on your seat belt, because the Gomeroi people are coming."

"It's simply about defending our country, it's time our people stood up and be counted,  and it's not just in our interest it's in everyone's."

Ms Talbot calls Mr Hunt to pay greater attention to the issue.

"We are asking Greg Hunt to commence an independent report including oral evidence to make an informed decision. We are asking him to do his job right and protect our Lawler's Well."

Whitehaven have already destroyed or damaged 38 other sacred sites, including "10 sites of high significance," she adds.