Landholders must have the right to say NO

The Basin Sustainability Alliance is urging the Queensland Government urgently change the law to allow landholders to have the right to say ‘no’ to coal seam gas development on their land following this week’s tragic suicide of Chinchilla farmer Mr George Bender.

BSA Chairman Lee McNicholl said BSA had been calling for the Government to give landholders the right to say no for many years, but this week’s heartbreaking passing of George Bender has put a very real human face on the power imbalance between landholders and the resources sector.

“Mr George Bender was a much loved, successful seventh-generation farmer. Every value in his moral compass, honed through a life nurturing his land, was being compromised by the CSG industry degrading his underground water supplies, and the relentless pressure to sign a Conduct and Compensation Agreement to allow the construction of a number of CSG wells and associated infrastructure on his beloved property making efficient farming an impossibility,” Mr McNicholl said.

Mr McNicholl said the Government must acknowledge the extreme psychological stress that landholders and communities are experiencing when it comes to dealing with the impacts of the CSG and mining industries, and do something to stand up for what is right.

He said BSA supported the calls of Senator Lazarus to see a halt to CSG development until an inquiry into the human impacts of CSG mining can be done, and urged for the establishment of a resource ombudsman.

“We support an inquiry, but we need to know that if an inquiry is held it will be more than just lip service. In the past, inquiries and endless submission processes seem to have resulted in no action and no change. It is time for change.”

Mr McNicholl urged anyone who was feeling overwhelmed by the impact of CSG to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.