Proposed CSG laws must be released immediately for community to assess
November 20, 2013 ∑ Lock the Gate Alliance has called for proposed changes to
coal seam gas laws foreshadowed in NSW Parliament last night to be released immediately on public exhibition.
In Parliament last night, Minister Duncan Gay revealed that changes have been
proposed to the contentious Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment Bill 2013 as a result
of secretive negotiations with selected stakeholders by the NSW Land and Water
Commissioner, Jock Laurie. The changes will be introduced as Government amendments to the Bill.
However, the changes have not been released for public comment and the
Government has delayed a vote on the changes until March next year, after
community opposition escalated over the last week. An associated Land Access
Code of Practice has been released and placed on public exhibition for four weeks.
"We're pleased that community opposition over the last week has led the
Government to adjourn a vote on this Bill until March next year" said Phil
Laird, National Co-ordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance.
"However, given the secrecy surrounding the process led by Land and Water
Commissioner Jock Laurie, we are calling for the changes to be released in full
immediately and for the Government to institute a formal public exhibition and
submission process before it is debated in Parliament.
"We're disappointed that Premier O'Farrell agreed to re-introduce this
controversial Bill last night without achieving the 'broad consensus' he
promised earlier in the year and without any public process.
"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.
"The proposed Bill also contains a number of gaping flaws that take regulation
of coal seam gas in NSW backwards.
The Bill will undermine the rights of landowners, including Local Councils, from
preventing seismic surveys along roads near residential dwellings and on
"The Bill will also allow coal seam gas companies to enter farms without the
consent of landholders to conduct surveys in order to obtain environmental
"We thoroughly reject Minister Duncan Gays claims in Parliament last night that
this Bill is 'a win for landholders' and we will be calling on members of the
Upper House to vote against the Bill unless it's many failings have been
addressed" he said.
The object of this Bill is to amend the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 (the Petroleum Act), the Mining Act 1992 (the Mining Act) and other Acts as follows:
(a) to increase penalties for offences relating to mining for petroleum without
authority and certain other offences and to revise other offences so that corresponding offences relating to petroleum mining and other mining are in similar terms,
(b) to enable directions relating to compliance with conditions of petroleum titles
and addressing adverse environmental impacts of mining for petroleum to be given and to provide for enforcement of such conditions and appeals against directions,
(c) to provide for audits of prospecting or mining for petroleum,
(d) to extend the legal costs that the holders of mining authorities or petroleum titles must pay for landholders relating to arrangements for access to land and
to make other provision with respect to access to land by holders of petroleum
titles and to make other provision with respect to arrangements for access to
(e) to make it an offence for the holder of a petroleum title to fail to pay royalty,
(f) to enable the publication of certain environmental information,
(g) to provide for the appointment of, and to confer inspection and other
investigation powers equivalent to those conferred under the Mining Act on,
inspectors under the Petroleum Act and to provide for permits for entry onto
land the subject of a petroleum title in other circumstances,
(h) to insert various offences relating to enforcement of the Petroleum Act and
the enforcement of rights under, and conditions of, petroleum titles,
(i) to make existing and new offences relating to the provision of false or
misleading information under the Petroleum Act and the Mining Act offences
of strict liability,
(j) to insert other provisions relating to offences under the Petroleum Act,
consistent with the Mining Act, including provisions about continuing
offences, proceedings for offences, enabling orders to be made requiring
offenders to make monetary payments and also enabling restraining orders to
be made against the property of offenders against whom payment orders are sought,
(k) to provide for the ongoing effect of notices given under the Petroleum Act
and the Mining Act and of conditions of petroleum titles, authorisations and permits,
(l) to make other amendments to the Mining Act, consistent with amendments to
the Petroleum Act, including the removal of the power to suspend a mining authorisation for contravention of an access arrangement,
(m) to validate certain appointments,
(n) to make other minor and consequential amendments and enact savings and transitional provisions consequent on the enactment of the proposed Act.