A MINOR amendment to state mining laws could result in Queensland farmers missing out on compensation for the impacts of coal seam gas developments, a Darling Downs farmer warned this week.
Basin Sustainability Alliance vice chair and grain producer Wayne Newton outlined the impacts of what the State Government said was a "minor amendment" to gas laws and said the amendment was passed "without any apparent consultation with peak landholder groups".
Under the Petroleum and Gas (Production and Safety) Act, petroleum tenure holders were obligated to pay occupiers of land compensation for damage caused by coal seam gas operations. But the Streamlining Mining Amendment Bill has redefined the "occupier" of the land, Mr Newton said.
"The change effectively means farmers who operate their businesses through family trusts, companies or partnerships without formal leasing arrangements in place may find themselves ineligible for compensation for the business impacts they suffer as a result of resource development," he said.
"The amended wording of this act now effectively means the only 'occupiers' able to claim are those with registered leases or people they give rights to."
Mr Newton said the change would restrict who could claim compensation for the effects of CSG operations and potential future losses, meaning those properties not run under a formal lease could be caught off guard.
"It is so ironic that in this, the Year of the Farmer, we are seeing yet another change that eases the path for mining while adding more cost, more confusion and more stress to the average farmer," he said.
"It is common practice for mum and dad to own the property and a family trust or partnership to operate the farming enterprise."
He said it was unusual for a lease to be in place under such arrangements.
"Recognition must be given to the lack of financial capacity for landholders to constantly be monitoring these issues when they only stand to lose as opposed to industry, which stands to gain billions," Mr Newton said.
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