MEDIA RELEASE - 22 May 2013
The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today welcomed the Government’s Bill to strengthen the Petroleum (Onshore) Act with stricter regulations and tougher penalties, but committed the Greens in both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council to move amendments to give farmers and other landholders the right to say no to having coal seam gas on their land.
Both the Mining and Petroleum (Onshore) Acts allow mining companies to force arbitration to gain access to land, if a landholder rejects an access agreement. The changes introduced by the government’s Petroleum (Onshore) Amendment Bill 2013 do not address this issue.
“The Greens believe that farmers and other landholders should have the right to say no to coal seam gas mining on their property,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“We will move amendments to the Bill that remove the arbitration provisions, meaning mining companies and landholders must come to a voluntary agreement, rather than the mining company being able to force their way on to a property through arbitration.
“This means that if a landholder does not want coal seam gas, or does not agree to the conditions in an access agreement, they can reject that agreement without fear of being dragged into an arbitration process.
“These amendments will test the commitment of local members to protecting their constituents rights to farm or otherwise enjoy their property without a mining company forcing its way on.
“Members like Kevin Humphries, George Souris, Kevin Anderson, Thomas George, Chris Gulaptis, Pru Goward, Stephen Bromhead, Mark Coulton, Gareth Ward, Bryan Doyle, and others will have a chance to show where they really stand on the right of farmers and landholders to say no to coal seam gas.
“Coal seam gas can be highly disruptive to farming activities and risks polluting the land and water. Farmers and landholders around NSW and Queensland have been locking the gate to gas companies and it is time that the right to ‘lock the gate’ was recognised in legislation.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916