A Metgasco exploratory drilling site near Casino.
A Metgasco exploratory drilling site near Casino. Jacklyn Wagner

Farmers should have right to veto

THE NSW Farmers Association has called on the State Government to give landholders a "right to veto" coal seam gas operators entering their land.

They also want to the NSW Valuer General to look into the impact of CSG operations on land values.

But a Kyogle landholder says a "right to veto" would not go far enough. She wants coal seam gas (CSG) operations stopped altogether.

Speaking in advance of public hearings as part of a State Government inquiry into CSG, NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said landholders must have a legal right to say no to mineral and petroleum explorers seeking access to their land.

"Under the current system here in NSW, property owners are legally forced to give access to mining companies, otherwise they can be taken to arbitration or to court," Ms Simson said.

According to Ms Simson the "right to veto" is not about denying access altogether, rather is about "restoring the balance in the relationship that pits landholders against multinational corporations".

But Leah Hobbs, who owns land with her husband Paul at Lynchs Creek, north of Kyogle, said the call does not go far enough.

"The coal seam gas companies keep telling us that farmers 'love gas', so it shouldn't be a problem for them," Ms Hobbs said.

"But I would go further. A simple right to veto does not take account of all those who will be affected by the decisions of others who say yes."



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