Farmers and traditional land owners are petitioning the Coag meeting of mining and energy ministers to control their livelihood, and their land
As a large scale food producer on the extremely valuable and productive lands just downstream from the largest of the State’s proposed gas hotspots at Narrabri, I live daily with the knowledge, and the stress, that ultimately we are powerless to refuse access for coal seam gas extraction on our land.
This is land that we have successfully toiled over for generations to build into a sustainable and productive enterprise capable of feeding hungry mouths both at home and abroad.
For our city cousins, it’s like someone knocking on your front door, demanding to be let inside, and taking up residence in your living room and making a mess. Sometimes they don’t even bother to knock.
The balance of power is skewed heavily in favour of the coal seam gas companies, who have all the rights, against individual landholders, who have nothing but risk.
On Friday there is a meeting of Council of Australian Governments (Coag) mining and energy ministers, and federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has promised landholders that the issue of a farmer’s right to say ‘no’ will be on the agenda.
Seventy-nine farmers, landholders and traditional owners, including myself, from every state and territory across Australia have sent a letter to minister Frydenberg and the state ministers, calling on them to grant us this right.
The signatories include beef graziers, wine-makers, and landholders struggling in the centre of the Queensland gasfields, the coalfields of the Hunter Valley, and traditional owners from the Kimberley, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
In NSW, Santos and AGL have signed an agreement not to enter freehold landagainst the express wishes of an individual landholder. But this agreement only covers drilling activities, not the extensive range of critical infrastructure such as gas and water pipelines which are essential to coal seam gas extraction.&