Stuart Ayres MP, Member for Penrith today applauded the signing of a landmark agreement on land access for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) operations in NSW.
The Agreed Principles of Land Access (the Principles) was signed on Friday, 28 March by landholder representatives NSW Farmers Association, Cotton Australia and the NSW Irrigators Council, and gas companies Santos and AGL at a signing ceremony at NSW Parliament House.
Stuart Ayres said the agreed principles relate to CSG projects in NSW and specifically cover access to private agricultural landholder’s property for CSG exploration and production drilling operations.
“It is an agreement based on the values of respect, integrity and trust,” he said.
“I applaud the landholder representatives for their leadership and commitment to their communities.
“The signatories to the Principles formally recognise the rights of landholders across the State to have a voice in what happens on their property.
“Landholders can now deal with these companies with confidence and comfort.
“The Principles show that there are reputable, professional and capable companies that can responsibly develop natural gas resources in NSW whilst recognising the importance of respecting, communicating and working with communities.”
All parties have agreed to the following principles:
- Any Landholder must be allowed to freely express their views on the type of operations that should or should not take place on their land without criticism, pressure, harassment or intimidation. Any Landholder is at liberty to say “yes” or “no” to the conduct of operation on their land;
- Gas companies confirm that they will respect the Landholder’s wishes and not enter onto a Landholder’s property to conduct operations where that Landholder has clearly expressed the view that operations on their property would be unwelcome; and
- The parties will uphold the Landholder’s decision to allow access for operations and do not support attempts by third party groups to interfere with any agreed operations. The parties condemn bullying, harassment and intimidation by third party groups and individuals in relation to drilling operations.
“NSW needs to responsibly develop its natural gas resources for the prosperity of this and future generations, and the signing of the Principles demonstrates that landholders and operators can co-exist in a mutually beneficial and respectful way,” said Stuart Ayres.
The NSW Government has listened to the community and acted to protect what’s important and to reduce the impact and prevalence of CSG activities:
- BTEX chemicals in CSG fracking fluids are banned
- Introduction of coal seam gas exclusion zones which prohibit coal seam Gas activity in and within 2 kilometres of residential areas across the State
- Introduced the Strategic Regional Land Use Policy to ensure agricultural land is protected from CSG activities
- Evaporation ponds have been banned
- Introduced an Aquifer Interference Policy
“The NSW community should not forget that it was Labor that handed out CSG exploration licenses with no regulation and little regard for local residents or the environment. Once again it is the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government who is working hard to clean up Labor’s mess.” added Stuart Ayres.