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Index > Australia > NSW > NSW Land Access

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Coal Seam Gas - NSW
NSW Land Access Agreement


Gloucester | Pilliga | Camden | Northern Rivers | Wollongong | Bentley
Woop Woop March | Aussies Against Fracking

Agreed Principles of NSW Land Access signed!
Negotiated by NSW Farmers, NSW Irrigators, Cotton Australia, AGL, Santos and Minister Roberts

The Agreed Principles of the NSW Coal Seam Gas Land Access Agreement is here

The Land Access Principles is silent on listening to community wishes, extending & honouring the 2km exclusion zones to include smaller villages, and industry clusters (why isn't tourism an industry cluster?) and paying for/repairing damage when "mistakes will happen" (quote Chief Scientist)

Loopholes exist in this principle as AGL owns the land they want to frack at Gloucester but the wells are only 300m from individual homes, 2km from 50 homes - but those people do not have any say at all!

AGL & Santos have little to nothing to concede in signing CSG land access deal. AGL buys up land, Santos gets access to public forest.

A loophole big enough that Metgasco thinks they can drive drill rigs through it - the landholder who signed up allowing fracking at Bentley doesn't live there.
Surely a residency test could be applied to avoid local farmers suffering from company buy ups and third party profiteers.

At present we still have not seen what the gas industry consider "a best practice framework for how explorers can negotiate access arrangements with landholders".

The Code does not set out mandatory requirements that must be included in an access arrangement, such as promptly paying any agreed compensation; and ensuring any information obtained about the landholder’s property or operations is kept confidential.

The Land Access Code of Practice does not strengthen rules for coal seam gas exploration including:

• a hold on exploration and extraction of natural gas within Sydney’s drinking water catchment

• 2 km exclusion zones for coal seam gas activities around existing residential areas and areas zoned as villages

• strengthened planning approval processes including assessments for strategic agricultural land and aquifer interference policy

________________

Lock The Gate's media release:

Media Release 28th March 2014

Cautious Welcome for Further Baby Steps on Coal Seam Gas

The Lock the Gate Alliance has cautiously welcomed commitments by gas miners Santos Ltd and AGL to accept the right of landholders to prevent them accessing their land for gas development, but warns that resolving rural conflict over invasive gasfields and coal mining requires root and branch reform and legal force.

Lock the Gate National Coordinator, Phil Laird said, “The right of landholders to lock their gate to fossil fuel companies is something that is profoundly important to our members and supporters, so we welcome the news that locking your gate in some areas in NSW will no longer lead to protracted court battles.

“This commitment from AGL and Santos, however, is no comfort to our Queensland members or to communities in the Northern Rivers facing off against gas company Metgasco, and cannot be relied upon unless it is enshrined in law in NSW.

“Much of the conflict in North West NSW and the Northern Rivers region is about impacts of coal and gas that go far beyond the farm gate. The farmers who have been arrested in the Pilliga know that the impacts of Santos’ coal seam gas drilling there could affect the groundwater that supports the whole region.

“Our message to the Government is this: extend rights and protections not just to landholders, but to the communities that rely on the health of the land and the water. Otherwise a gas company can still undermine the safety and security of landholders by buying high value farming land for coal seam gas extraction, as AGL has done in the Hunter.

“We welcome this step, but have always been very clear: dealing with coal and gas requires clear and unambiguous no-go areas for water resources, farmland and important bushland. It requires root and branch legal reform, and while the NSW Government has been making some headway, the conflict on the land will continue while the countryside is offered up without limit to coal and gas mining" he said.

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The Code of Practice for Land Access is contained in amendments to the Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment Bill 2013 which was
adjourned until 3 March 2014 today.

The
draft Code of Practice for Land Access ensures that during arbitration landholders can access legal representation and that “reasonable” legal costs are covered by the CSG company.

The NSW Land and Water Commissioner Jock Laurie developed the code with stakeholders NSW Irrigators, Cotton Australia and NSW Farmers Association, CSG industry body APPEA and government representatives.

Shooters and Fishers MP Robert Brown criticised the group for failing to “give the farmer the right to lock the gate” and are on record as saying they will not support the Bill in it's current form.

Greens mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham criticised the government for limiting the public consultation to the code of practice, as opposed to the wider amendments contained in the Bill, and said it would not reduce the industry’s impact on farmland.

Communities across NSW will be gobsmacked that this Bill has missed the opportunity to provide farmers with a broad legal right to say 'no' to coal seam gas mining on their properties,” Lock The Gate said in their press release.

NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher has invited comments on the draft code of practice here.

Written submissions can be emailed to ocsg.enquiries@industry.nsw.gov.au.

NSW: Pilliga | Gloucester | Camden | Northern Rivers

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