REAL estate prices for rural residential properties may nosedive as a result of coal seam gas activity, an independent property adviser has stated, but Metgasco challenges the claim.
Ken Potter, a director of Coffs Harbour-based valuation company Herron Todd White, was asked by Glenugie property owner George Oxenbridge to provide a statement about the likely impact CSG developments, which began last week on a neighbouring property, would have on his property value.
In his assessment, Mr Potter said the rural property market in Grafton and surrounds was slow due to an overall lack of economic confidence.
"During soft market conditions, properties with adverse features or detrimental impacts will prove difficult to sell and be most susceptible to a reduction in value levels," he said.
Mr Potter compared CSG developments to high-powered transmission lines which had led to discounts of between 0-30% on the "local" market.
"These affectation rates have been endorsed by the courts," Mr Potter said.
"The issue of CSG mining on adjacent properties will eventually indicate a similar degree of market discounting.
"Whether real or perceived, the issue surrounding CSG mining will act to restrict saleability and capital of values of adjoining or nearby properties."
But Mr Potter's assessment was refuted by Metgasco, the company which began work in Glenugie last week.
"The CSG industry has been active in Queensland for almost 20 years," said Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson.
"We are not aware of any information from the Queensland Valuer General that indicates any reduction in property values in Queensland attributed to the CSG industry."
In his report, the Queensland Valuer-General Neil Bray said residential properties at Miles and Chinchilla, where coal seam gas developments are expanding rapidly, had increased in value by 30-40%.
"The majority of increases in the small towns are as a result of activity relating to the coal seam gas industry, the period of time since the last revaluation and the resulting market movement. ''
Mr Henderson said analysis by Wilson HTM Investment Advisory Group, estimated that in Queensland the compensation payment to landowners was five to 10 times the value of agricultural output foregone from the land used for CSG operations.
Anti-CSG activist Peter Ralph said the "greater" Tara area had a population of 2500 people and the town's only real estate agent, Elders, had more than 280 properties for sale.
"They can't sell these places, the market has gone. I know Dayne Pratzky has just received his rates notice which says his property went from $115,000 last year to $77,000 this year - and he won't even get that," Mr Ralph said.