Farmers want right to block land access

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NSW farmers want the state government to give property owners the right to refuse mining companies access to their land.

In a submission to the parliamentary CSG inquiry the NSW Farmers Association president Fiona Simson said mining companies had too much power, and landowners should be able to veto access to their land.

“Allowing property owners to say no isn’t about denying access at all, it’s about restoring the balance in the relationship that pits landholders against multinational corporations,” she said.

In its submission to the inquiry the Farmers Association made 31 recommendations.

It said the government should maintain a temporary prohibition on fracking until all chemicals had been tested by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme.

It also called on the NSW Valuer General to urgently commission a study into the effect of CSG development on property prices.

Simson said the study was needed so landowners could accurately negotiate with mining companies.

“This would provide a baseline to help property owners seek compensation where devaluation occurs,” she said.

The association said the Government should also ensure the quality of surface and ground water supplies.

Simson said the association was not opposed to CSG developments, but appropriate regulation and consultation had to be completed first.

“NSW Farmers is not opposed to CSG, or mining for that matter,” she said.

“If developed responsibly and regulated more appropriately, we believe both these industries can play a role in generating jobs and income for the state.”

The parliamentary inquiry into CSG was announced by the Government last month and will investigate the environmental, health, economic, and social impacts of CSG developments.

It will also examine the role CSG will play in solving the energy needs of NSW.

Submissions to the inquiry close on Septemer 14 and a final report is expected in April next year.

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