CSG industry on spin cycle

Coal seam gas (CSG) industry claims that 4017 signed access agreements indicate happy coexistence between farmers and industry are “ludicrous” according to the Basin Sustainability Alliance (BSA).

BSA, a group that represents the concerns of landholders in relation to the rapid expansion of the CSG industry, says its appalled by the latest industry spin from CSG industry lobbyists, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA).

BSA Vice Chairman Wayne Newton said BSA had a large amount of anecdotal evidence that suggested that the majority of landholders are not happy with their land access arrangements and are very worried about the impact on their business, underground water, land, food production, and lifestyle.

“Having 4017 signed land access agreements is by no means a measure of the level of acceptance the industry enjoys.   We call on APPEA to produce evidence that the landholders who have signed these agreements are calling it a “great deal” as APPEA claims.

“True coexistence occurs between landholders and CSG companies when both parties come to the table on an equal footing, and choose to enter into an agreement based on that,” he said.

Currently, if a landholder refuses to enter into an agreement with a resource company seeking access to their land, then the company can gain access by taking the landholder to the Land Court.  The Land Court judge does not have the power to deny  a petroleum company access to someone else’s land, but can only determine the amount of compensation to be paid.

“It would be very interesting to see just how many agreements they’d have if people were not forced by law to reach an agreement .

“For many landholders, this is a circumstance that has been thrust upon them against their will, often under extreme pressure and by the use of threats. So for APPEA to say that the CSG industry is ‘widely accepted in regional Queensland and is based on mutual respect and trust’ is quite frankly insulting. While there are landholders who do enjoy such a relationship with the CSG industry, they appear to be very few and far between.”

He said many of the claims in the APPEA’s  “Our Natural Advantage” advertising campaign, reported to be costing
$5 million, misrepresented the full story of the CSG industry’s impacts.

“It would appear that APPEA’s latest marketing efforts are an attempt to promote the CSG industry to the public and government in New South Wales. But to do so, by deliberately misrepresenting the truth of what is happening in Queensland is breathtaking in its hypocrisy”, Mr Newton said.

“Respect and trust are earned, they’re not something you can buy or gain through deceit. The CSG industry will never gain public support if they continue to bulldoze over genuine concerns with slick marketing campaigns.”

“It’s a shame they didn’t spend the $5 million on clear, collaborative and transparent research into serious issues like groundwater, fugitive emissions, water contamination, gas pathways, salt disposal and land impacts,” he said.