In New South Wales the state parliament has followed the ACT in passing the Public Health Amendment (Safe Access to Reproductive Health Clinical) Bill 2018 (NSW), which amends the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) to establish a 150-metre ‘safe access zones’ around abortion clinics.
The amended Act features the following offences (each with a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500 for a first offence, or 12 months in prison and/or a $11,000 fine for a second or subsequent offence) -
Section 98C – Interfering with access of persons to reproductive health clinics
(2) A person who is in a safe access zone must not interfere with any person accessing, leaving, or attempting to access or leave, any reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided.
(3) A person who is in a safe access zone must not, without reasonable excuse, obstruct or block a footpath or road leading to any reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided.
A ‘reproduction health clinic’ is defined as ‘any premises at which medical services relating to aspects of human reproduction or maternal health are provided, but does not include a pharmacy.’
The ‘safe access zone’ is: (a) the premises of a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, and (b) the area within 150 metres of: any part of the premises of a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, or (ii) a pedestrian access point to a building that houses a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided. ‘Interfere with’ is defined as including, to ‘harass, intimidate, beset, threaten, hinder, obstruct or impede by any means.’
Section 98D – Causing actual or potential distress or anxiety to persons in safe access zones
(1) A person who is in a safe access zone must not make a communication that relates to abortions, by any means, in a manner: (a) that is able to be seen or heard by a person accessing, leaving, attempting to access or leave, or inside, a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, and (b) that is reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety to any such person.
Employees and other person who provides services to the reproductive health clinic are exempted.
Section 98E – Capturing and distributing visual data of persons in safe access zone
(1) A person must not intentionally capture visual data of another person, by any means, without that other person’s consent if that other person is in a safe access zone.
(2) A person must not publish or distribute a recording of another person without that other person’s consent if the recording: (a) was made while that other person was in a safe access zone, and (b) contains particulars likely to lead to the identification of that other person.
‘Capture visual data’ of another person means to capture moving or still images of the other person by a camera or any other means in such a way that: (a) a recording is made of the images, or (b) the images are capable of being transmitted in real time with or without retention or storage in a physical or electronic form, or (c) the images are otherwise capable of being distributed.
‘Distribute’ means: (a) communicate, exhibit, send, supply or transmit, whether to a particular person or not, or (b) make available for access, whether by a particular person or not, or (c) enter into an agreement or arrangement to do any thing mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b).
The offence does not apply to: (a) the operation of a security camera, for security reasons only, by or on behalf of a person operating a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, or premises adjacent to or near such a reproductive health clinic, or (b) a person employed or contracted to provide services at the reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, or (c) a person otherwise acting for or on behalf of a person operating a reproductive health clinic at which abortions are provided, but only if the visual data is provided either to the person operating the clinic or to a police officer, or (d) a police officer acting in the course of the officer’s duties as a police officer if the officer’s conduct is reasonable in the circumstances for the performance of those duties, or (e) a person who has another reasonable excuse.The Crown Land Management Regulation 2018 under the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (NSW) is now in effect, also restricting protests in crown estate land (inc town squares, parks, roads, public beaches and community halls). The Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW) is replaced.
The Act provides for NSW police, local council officials and state government employees to direct individuals to refrain from conducting activities prescribed in the regulations, including 'taking part in any gathering, meeting or assembly'. It complements the Sydney Public Reserves (Public Safety) Act 2017 (NSW) which provided NSW police with enhanced move on powers, regarding Crown land within the City of Sydney local government area - for example camps in Martin Place - and the Inclosed Lands, Crimes and Law Enforcement Legislation Amendment (Interference) Act 2016 (NSW). The latter creates a new offence of aggravated unlawful entry on inclosed lands (maximum fine $5,500) alongside additional police powers to stop, search, detain, and seize the property of protesters
Section 9.5 of the Crown Land Management Act stipulates that the Minister for Lands and Forestry may order “a notice to be displayed in a conspicuous space” that prohibits individuals from carrying out prescribed activities on Crown lands. The Regulation specifies that a penalty notice for failing to comply with a direction will be $1,100. Failing to comply with a notice has a penalty of $220.